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Thread: French Fries

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    Team Poseur Metric Man's Avatar
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    French Fries

    I was doing my usual non-workday ride yesterday morning in the Cherry Valley area, tooling down a quiet country road when I heard a car coming up from behind me. As it went past I saw a sticker on the bumper of this mid 80's Mercedes diesel (I think it was a 280D) that said "Powered by Vegetable Oil" I thought that was kinda strange until I caught a whiff of the exhaust...FRENCH FRIES!! I had always heard the exhaust smell was different but that was my first experience with it. Just thought I'd share.
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    Now if they can only get it to smell like ham and pineapple pizza.

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    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metric Man View Post
    I was doing my usual non-workday ride yesterday morning in the Cherry Valley area, tooling down a quiet country road when I heard a car coming up from behind me. As it went past I saw a sticker on the bumper of this mid 80's Mercedes diesel (I think it was a 280D) that said "Powered by Vegetable Oil" I thought that was kinda strange until I caught a whiff of the exhaust...FRENCH FRIES!! I had always heard the exhaust smell was different but that was my first experience with it. Just thought I'd share.
    I seriously researched this several years ago (along with going off the grid). Yes it can be and is done. The whole truth will take a lot of writing and I am not sure that was what you were after anyway. Needless to say I have not traded my gas guzzler in for an old Mercedes. It is a cool concept though.
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    Ride Daddy Ride Jet Travis's Avatar
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    Here's one guy's story about moving to a grease car and attempting to live off the grid. Not much technical advice, but interesting:

    http://www.dougfine.com/farewell-my-subaru/
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    Team Poseur Metric Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclinfool View Post
    I seriously researched this several years ago (along with going off the grid). Yes it can be and is done. The whole truth will take a lot of writing and I am not sure that was what you were after anyway. Needless to say I have not traded my gas guzzler in for an old Mercedes. It is a cool concept though.
    Yeah I know it's doable...in fact I recall a Mythbusters episode where they did this very thing to a similar car. No modifications, just straight used fryer oil. But you shoulda smelled it!
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    Senior Member skiph's Avatar
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    ^^^^

    Better watch that Myth Buster's episode again...

    That fryer oil has to be 're-refined'........heated, separated, filtered numerous times to get the crud out of it.

    Then, if the vehicle is in a cool weather area, there has to be a heater in the fry oil fuel line to warm it up enough to flow correctly to the high pressure pump/injectors. If it's in So Cal or Phoenix, the oil is generally fluid enough from ambient temperature.

    The vehicle also usually has to be started on regular diesel to get it going and then switched over to the fry oil.

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    There are vehicles over here using "NEW" cooking oil to run on. Instead over going to the petrol station to fill up with diesel at $13 a gallon- you go to the supermarket and buy Vegetable oil at $0.80 a litre ($4.00 a gallon) The vehicle has to be converted to it and you do have to start on regular diesel but it can be done. And I believe there is a mandatory requirement that within a few years- All Vehicles will have to run on a mix of regular fuel and Vegetable content.

    There are also the Refining plants around that re-use "Old" cooking oil that has been cleaned and a few parts of the UK have their own refineries making fuel from Vegetable matter.
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    I watched that episode just last week Skip. All they did was filter it. Put it in a container that they were using to verify how much they were using and that was it.
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    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiph View Post
    ^^^^

    Better watch that Myth Buster's episode again...

    That fryer oil has to be 're-refined'........heated, separated, filtered numerous times to get the crud out of it.

    Then, if the vehicle is in a cool weather area, there has to be a heater in the fry oil fuel line to warm it up enough to flow correctly to the high pressure pump/injectors. If it's in So Cal or Phoenix, the oil is generally fluid enough from ambient temperature.

    The vehicle also usually has to be started on regular diesel to get it going and then switched over to the fry oil.
    Your getting close - keep digging and you'll find the rest of the story - look at how a diesel will coke up when running a high viscosity fuel like veg oil. One interesting note - to heat veg oil up so that it has the viscosity of diesel you need to get it within about 10 degrees of it's flash point (can you say bomb).
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    It has to do with the refining technique and the use of alcohol and lye as the two key ingredients if you are doing it yourself. Properly processed vegetable oil is as viable as a fuel as ordinary diesel (which incidentally comes in summer and winter form because of the wax content). There are no issues with starting or heating up to near flash point.

    One of the problems that has been identified is that the vegetable oil fuels need to be run on older vehicles with a certain type of petrol pump that has bearings lubricated with oil within the engine, rather than the modern pumps that rely on lubrication within the diesel to run smoothly. One farmer we have spoken to who runs a Peugeot diesel car did in his fuel pump bearings running biodiesel. However, I suspect that as the world moves over to crop-grown engine fuels, these lubrication issues will subside as additives are developed.

    We are about to plant 20 acres of canola with a high-yielding oil seed (65%) as an experiment to see if it is worthwhile converting to diesel fuel on the property. Considering we use $20,000 worth of diesel just for irrigation (the farm vehicle use is relativley small), it and mulching become become a very attractive proposition.

    Of course, the move to these types of fuels will mean your Corn Flakes for breakfast will get more expensive. A report in the past couple of days has attributed the 75% of the increase in cereal prices to biofuel cropping.

    Again I make the observation -- what choice is the world going to make when it comes to putting fuel in cars or food in the bellies of its children? I think the evidence is already on the table.
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    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclinfool View Post
    Your getting close - keep digging and you'll find the rest of the story - look at how a diesel will coke up when running a high viscosity fuel like veg oil. One interesting note - to heat veg oil up so that it has the viscosity of diesel you need to get it within about 10 degrees of it's flash point (can you say bomb).
    But does it need to be the same viscosity to be usable?

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    There was a news story on last week wherein it said that in times past restaurants had to pay to get the grease hauled off but now sell it to haulers.

    One guy, who puts bins outside of restaurants to collect the grease, said the price has gone from $.70 per gallon to $2.70 per gallon, and he said people were stealing his grease.



    ###This is not the story I was referring to but it does mention theft.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/#24618875

    ###
    Last edited by LastPlace; 07-05-08 at 06:54 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclinfool View Post
    One interesting note - to heat veg oil up so that it has the viscosity of diesel you need to get it within about 10 degrees of it's flash point (can you say bomb).
    What's the flashpoint of gas? People have been driving around in potential gas bombs for decades.
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    Senior Member skiph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metric Man View Post
    I watched that episode just last week Skip. All they did was filter it. Put it in a container that they were using to verify how much they were using and that was it.
    OK, maybe it was a "Dirty Jobs" episode....

    #14 "Bio-Diesel Man" October 25, 2005

    But the fry oil was not usable with out quite a bit of home processing.

    It's full of charcoaled breading from things other than french fries and other stuff.

    In that episode, I'm pretty sure the engine had to be started on regular diesel and the fry oil warmed up some before the engine could be run on it.

    There's a VW Jetta diesel here in my home town with a "runs on BioFuel" bumper sticker on it. The next time I see it and I can catch it, I'll try to ask the driver about it.

    It might be that as Stepfam mentioned, if you start with new clean cooking oil it will work with out much modification. It he's getting cooking oil in England for that price, that's petty good. Seems when I go to buy cooking oil, it prices out to lots more than $4.00/gallon, but then that's in quart bottles, not bulk.

    Another bit of trivia I seem to remember is that early diesel engines were made to run on peanut oil (found a reference to this on WikiPedia).

    And as Rowan said, many farmers are thinking of skipping the corn/alcohol thing and planting canola (and others???) to get biodiesel which works in their farm equipment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skiph View Post
    OK, maybe it was a "Dirty Jobs" episode....

    #14 "Bio-Diesel Man" October 25, 2005

    But the fry oil was not usable with out quite a bit of home processing.

    It's full of charcoaled breading from things other than french fries and other stuff.

    In that episode, I'm pretty sure the engine had to be started on regular diesel and the fry oil warmed up some before the engine could be run on it.

    There's a VW Jetta diesel here in my home town with a "runs on BioFuel" bumper sticker on it. The next time I see it and I can catch it, I'll try to ask the driver about it.

    It might be that as Stepfam mentioned, if you start with new clean cooking oil it will work with out much modification. It he's getting cooking oil in England for that price, that's petty good. Seems when I go to buy cooking oil, it prices out to lots more than $4.00/gallon, but then that's in quart bottles, not bulk.

    Another bit of trivia I seem to remember is that early diesel engines were made to run on peanut oil (found a reference to this on WikiPedia).

    And as Rowan said, many farmers are thinking of skipping the corn/alcohol thing and planting canola (and others???) to get biodiesel which works in their farm equipment.


    Look what I found!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEX1YFXYTdI

    I really don't care one way or the other on this issue, but in the episode they make no mention of either starting on diesel or any processing other than filtering.

    Anyway, it sure makes you hungry sniffing the exhaust.
    The thoughts and opinions expressed by this poster are his own and should not be misconstrued as gospel. They are and were not meant to inflame, enrage or otherwise tick anyone off, usually.
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    Senior Member skiph's Avatar
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    Mark:

    From a link off that same youtube page as the Myth Busters video, part 1 of a 3 part (plus even more) of a guy making biodiesel starting with fresh Wesson oil:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XmOa...eature=related

    It's MUCH more complicated that just filtering used fry oil like the MB guys did, and this other guy started with new oil. His process looks much more like what I saw on Dirty Jobs.

    I'm sort of a MB fan, but have seen a lot of shoddy work on there so I don't always believe every thing I see on there anymore.

    Eureka! Must be every video in the world is on youtube...the Dirty Jobs segment 'refining' used fry oil:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEl0I0-kZW8

    Ugh...it's only about half the segment, but you get the idea...more complicated than just filtering used oil.

    (Boy, talk about a thread hijack....sorry....).

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    Well, no, not a hijack. Because like so many things, people think the process of feeding biofuel into an engine is simple. It's not and its processes have to be quite precise. Those who have been producing biodiesel from cooking oil for some time probably can do it with their eyes closed. But I think the process would make the shed look like a meths factory.

    For our purposes, there are businesses who will take the canola, crush it, extract the oil and put it through the processing for us. Whether the costs work out as cheaper than bought diesel is anyone's guess (bearing in mind that diesel for motor vehicle use is hit with a hefty excise by the Feds here in Australia, whereas the tax isn't applied for rural production).

    I find it fascinating that agricultural companies like Monsanto have been developing genetically modified (GM) strains of canola for some time, and they are on the ground floor as far as "owning" the patents and rights for many canola plantings way into the future. Their genetic engineering seems almost to have been prefaced on the decline of fossil fuel stocks, and I suspect they will replace companies such as Shell, Exxon and so on as the powerbrokers in the energy industries.

    And taken to its fullest extent, the sticker on the back of the old Mercedes could just as easily have said: "Solar powered". Think about it.
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    Senior Member one_beatnik's Avatar
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    In an article in Fast Company, a gentleman named Gosdin in Wichita, KS is getting 40 mpg out of H1 Hummers. He'll buy used oil from restaurants, run it through a filter to get the chunks out and dump it right in his tank. He's getting that kind of mileage from Hummers by 1: converting it to diesel; 2: adding an electric motor and letting the diesel power the generator to run it; 3: adding a hydrogen cell. He loves the big machines but hates the lack of efficiency and speed. With the electrics he's going 0 to 60 in 3.8 seconds. He's also a 7th grade drop-out! I loved that part. 90% of the parts he uses are from GM. It can be done with existing technology.

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    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    As mentioned here - Biodiesel is much different than veg oil, if you want to run a diesel car on veg oil you really need to convert the veg oil to biodiesel which is a not so straight forward process - kind of like brewing beer - do it for awhile and you find out why good beer is expensive.

    One side note - most credible experts agree, bio-fuels from food stocks are not viable options for the US - they will work to fill in the margins but not as a substitute for imported oil.

    You can indeed run a diesel engine on straight veg oil but because the injectors don't create the proper spray pattern and the fuel doesn't atomize correctly the engine will coke up - rings will freeze, cylinder walls will score and the engine will need to be rebuilt much much sooner. Also because veg oil is not as highly refined and filtered as diesel you need a low micron filter - these are expensive and will require frequent changes. Some people try to recover these and reuse them.

    Now for the next hint - do you pay road tax on veg oil? Should you - I bet your state thinks you should and you may face fines if you don't. Next - do you have a liscense to recycle waist products, you may need one and again you could risk fines and prosecution if you don't (not a risk I want to take).

    Discuss this for awhile and then we will move on to the next issue...
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    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Good thing it is not powered by methane . . . a-a-a-ah fresh cowpies!

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    Can anyone else remember "kentucky fried movie" years ago? It was a bunch of vignettes that were spoofs of tv commercials. One of them was a public service add from an oil company showing how they were going to solve the energy crisis by recycling the grease from big mac containers in the garbage. I guess that may be some truth to that after all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    It has to do with the refining technique and the use of alcohol and lye as the two key ingredients if you are doing it yourself. Properly processed vegetable oil is as viable as a fuel as ordinary diesel (which incidentally comes in summer and winter form because of the wax content). There are no issues with starting or heating up to near flash point.

    One of the problems that has been identified is that the vegetable oil fuels need to be run on older vehicles with a certain type of petrol pump that has bearings lubricated with oil within the engine, rather than the modern pumps that rely on lubrication within the diesel to run smoothly. One farmer we have spoken to who runs a Peugeot diesel car did in his fuel pump bearings running biodiesel. However, I suspect that as the world moves over to crop-grown engine fuels, these lubrication issues will subside as additives are developed.

    We are about to plant 20 acres of canola with a high-yielding oil seed (65%) as an experiment to see if it is worthwhile converting to diesel fuel on the property. Considering we use $20,000 worth of diesel just for irrigation (the farm vehicle use is relativley small), it and mulching become become a very attractive proposition.

    Of course, the move to these types of fuels will mean your Corn Flakes for breakfast will get more expensive. A report in the past couple of days has attributed the 75% of the increase in cereal prices to biofuel cropping.

    Again I make the observation -- what choice is the world going to make when it comes to putting fuel in cars or food in the bellies of its children? I think the evidence is already on the table.

    You should consider the byproducts side of the biodeisel production process. Water off the bottom is very high in COD and most public sewer systems will not take it without furthur treatment, middle layer is glyceryn which is almost worthless due to the needed refining of the stuff and a worldwide glut due to increased production(millions of gallons of the stuff in storage right now with no market), biodeisel which has issues of its own.

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    I don't disagree with your observations about waste issues with biodiesel, but other energy sources have environmental issues that may become significant as volume to meet demand increases.

    I am also of the view that as oil supplies deteriorate (either through political manipulation or actual in-ground stocks) and other fuel technologies become more attractive, or competitive in price terms, the issues of by-product waste will either (a) be overpowered by the demand for energy or (b) result in additional new technologies to dispose of it as part of the cost of the final energy product.

    As to road tax, I think (and I repeat, I think) the Australian government some time ago exempted ethanol producers from excise to encourage the industry's development. In addition to that, a policy also was put in place not to pursue backyard vegetable oil refiners for excise.
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