In the 1900’s, Rudolf Diesel successfully constructed the diesel engine, then stirred up controversy when he showed that his invention could be powered with peanut oil.
The cooking oil as fuel concept did not really resurface again until the 1970’s when the oil industry was in emergency mode.
Though the idea may not be new, innovative products are appearing that are making it easier for the average consumer to utilize agricultural based fuel methods.
Diesel engines can be converted which enables them to run on new or recycled cooking oil.
Though examples may make it sound as simple as pour it in and go, some know how is required. If the oil was previously used, it must go through a filtration system to get rid of any impurities before it can be turned into fuel.
Also, regular cooking oil may be too thick to pour directly into a diesel engine. This can make the fuel burn differently and can cause engine damage if done improperly. Having a diesel engine converted and installed by a professional is the best way to utilize cooking oil power.
After a proper engine conversion and an additional fuel tank installation, products that allow easier home use like the biobot 20, make turning oil into fuel a fairly simple process. Used cooking oil can be put into a reaction chamber and collected. Once the chamber is full it can be put into fuel making mode. Along with multiple filter and cleansing processes, the mixture sits until the portion usable for fuel has separated and then it is ready to be put in a tank.
The biobot 20 reportedly converts oil to ready to go fuel power at a cost of about a dollar per gallon. The device has a price tag of a little over $650.00 and does require a few special additives to make it work. Also, it does not make much fuel at a time, producing around 4 gallons per procedure. Further, a watchful eye over a diesel engine’s fuel injectors is needed since cooking oil may increase their chances of becoming clogged.
With no shortage of fried food in sight, upkeep costs for a diesel engine to run on cooking fuel are fairly minimal. Filters may need to be replaced and new additives purchased, but comparative to a weekly fill up at the fuel tank this can definitely spark some savings. Also, if more oil is needed than produced by the average household, many restaurants will happily donate their used cooking oil instead of paying for removal services.
For individual use, it definitely takes an upfront investment along with time spent in research to prepare a diesel engine for a cooking oil diet. However, with modern advances and a bit of maintenance, fried fuel technology is becoming more obtainable.
Image: biobot 20 from Digital Trends
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