grease is the word
From the C-J awhile back... (trying to clear out my blogging back-log!)
A cool article on an alternative fuel-- and recycling waste products into energy to fuel a car!
When people find out that Jeffersonville residents Craig MacInnes and Amy McClain drive a car that runs on waste vegetable oil, "their jaws drop," MacInnes said.
Some of the people are skeptical or ask such questions as: "Does your car smell like French fries?"To prove that there's no exhaust smell of any kind, the pair get the curious to stand behind the car while it runs...
First they had to find a car that ran on diesel. While searching eBay, they found a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta wagon in their price range and bid on it.
Next, they had to find a supply of waste vegetable oil.
MacInnes said they use non-hydrogenated oil -- soy or canola is recommended -- because it stays liquid at room temperature. After four days of visiting restaurants, they found two businesses willing to hand over their waste oil instead of putting it down their grease traps or in dumpsters...
"When I look back, we were paying between $200 to $300 a month just in gas. We can recoup that $1,800 in seven to nine months easily," McClain said.
The car can run on either vegetable oil or diesel fuel. When it's first started, it runs on diesel until the oil warms to about 190 degrees, which takes about five minutes. When a toggle switch on the dashboard is flipped, the car starts running on waste oil.
The oil tank holds 10 gallons, so if they find themselves running out of the oil, they can switch to diesel until they refill the tank. Before shutting down the car, they switch back to diesel to flush out the fuel line for 10 seconds.
The car gets 40 to 45 miles per gallon.
McClain figures that she drives more than 250 miles a week as a school psychologist in Louisville. She buys diesel fuel about every six weeks and the rest of the time runs on the free waste oil.
MacInnes picks up the waste oil at one restaurant each week, and less often at another restaurant. It's packaged in the five-gallon containers the oil originally came in. He takes it home to his garage, where he pours it through a hanging-bag filter that removes impurities, then transfers it back to the containers -- and the oil is ready to use.
"I have timed it. It takes me five minutes to refuel and that is with going inside and washing my hands afterward," McClain said. "For me, it is no more time-consuming than stopping at a gas station."