• John V Posted: 9/30/2008 6:43am PDT

    A bit more info for those who are intrigued:

  • Ann J. Posted: 9/30/2008 9:37am PDT

    Is this something Washington can screw up for the rest of us?

  • wik Posted: 9/30/2008 6:46pm PDT

    Great, how environmentally friendly you are, while driving approx 7,000 miles on whims (3 xcountry trips). It's fun but don't pretend it is environmentally responsible. Fuel is fuel. Gasoline is relatively friendly as well, and its emissions are clean indeed. As are MY2009 diesels. My guess is, a benz running veggie oil could not pass California regs, as modern diesels now can.

  • Powell Posted: 10/2/2008 11:58pm PDT

    Here's a biofuel tutorial site that explains how to run on waste vegetable oil (used cooking oil)
    Keep on Greasin'

  • Colin Mathews Posted: 10/8/2008 10:56am PDT

    John V - Thanks for the Wired magazine article. The system engineered by my friend in L.A. is an improvement on Lovecraft Biofuels' system, the one profiled in the Wired article. Stay tuned as I assemble it and show pictures of the install.
    wik - I don't pretend that I will be saving the earth or your lungs by driving cross-country on waste vegetable oil. And indeed, a brand new 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI emits exhaust that is far cleaner than my old Benz could ever hope to attain. I'd love to own one of those cars, but a new car purchase just isn't in the cards for me right now. Here's the reality: there are 10s of thousands (probably millions) of old-tech diesel engines on this earth that will never meet new, clean emissions regulations. And they start up, run, and emit pollutants every day. There are also untold millions of gallons of used vegetable oil thrown out as garbage every day. What if we could fuel fleets of buses, construction equipment, and 18-wheelers by recycling waste as opposed to drilling in Alaska or paying through the nose for foreign oil? It's not the whole solution, but it could represent part of one. And if we powered all (or even some) of those ubiquitous old diesels with waste vegetable oil, their emissions would be dramatically improved. Period. Using vegetable oil or biodiesel as opposed to running diesel #2 yields, as the U.S. EPA found: a 50% reduction in carbon monoxide, a 70% reduction in particulate matter, a 40% reduction in total hydrocarbon emissions, no change in methane emissions, and a 9% increase in nitrogen oxide emissions. The NOX is a small concern, but one that could theoretically be eliminated by retrofitting old diesels with SCR (selective catalytic reduction) now on new clean diesels that turns NOX into harmless nitrogen gas and water vapor. So that's what this is all about: recycling vs. drilling, and cleaner emissions from old engines that won't be disappearing any time soon. Both of those, in my book, are significant boosts to the environment.