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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Grease Gets You Going.

Did you know you could run a car off of cooking grease? The concept is known as Straight Vegetable Oil (if never used) or Waste Vegetable Oil (if used already for cooking purposes). The writers at Autoblog procured a VW Jetta TDI (diesel for you non-aficionados) recently converted to run on SVO. They drove the modified Jetta around to see what it was like. Conclusion: it ran like a normal diesel Jetta.

The trick is the engine runs on diesel until the excess heat thins the grease enough to use as fuel. That only takes a few minutes. Then the driver switches to the extra fuel tank and runs off of the cooking oil. With a few minutes to go on your drive you switch back to diesel to purge the SVO out of the system. Otherwise when the grease cools it'll become solid and clog up the fuel intake system.

A very interesting article and a unique way of being less dependent on foreign oil. If you wanted to invest the time you can collect waste vegetable oil from restaurants and fuel your car for virtually free.

I don't see the use of SVO/WVO ever becoming mainstream, but for you few dedicated drivers out there I salute you. I wonder what the VegeJet's cholesterol rating is?

EDIT: Just to clarify SVO/WVO is not the same as biodiesel. SVO/WVO is quite literally cooking oil that you deep fry yummy food in. Some people will go to restarants to take the used grease out of the oil dumpsters. If you do that you have to filter the food particles out. The SVOWVO system involves a second fuel tank and some heat pipes from the radiator to warm up the grease into a liquid. That is why you start with regular fuel first and last. If you don't switch to diesel near the end of the trip the oil will cool down into a solid. It is impossible to inject a solid fuel into your engine.

Biodiesel is a diesel fuel derived from plant matter instead of petroleum. You can easily fill up your fuel tank with biodiesel instead of regualar petroleum derived diesel.

WARNING: none of this applies if your car runs on gasoline. NEVER EVER put diesel/biodiesel/vegetable oil into your gas tank. Your gasoline powered car will not run on that stuff.

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