To Spain and Back on Waste Vegetable Oil!
31 Aug 2009
Chris Kennett, founder of Veggiepower (producing waste oil conversion kits for cars) describes the ethos behind why he is so passionate about using waste veggie oil and tells us about his trips to Spain on oil that would normally be thrown away.
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The first car I converted to run on vegetable oil was in 2005. Soon after this I started up Veggiepower and have sold well over a hundred kits, many of which I have installed myself. The main reason I visit Spain is to work at the Ecoforest project, but I do love to promote the use of alternative fuels, so the trip is a great test for fuel reliability.
My first trip to Spain on vegetable oil was in 2006 since then I’ve been there and back twice ñonce again, on new oil, in 2007 and finally on waste oil in November 2008. All three times I have made the journey it has been trouble free ñ without any problems at all.
The 2008 trip started with my friend (Henri) and I packing all that we wanted into my 1.9TDi VW Golf estate. Luckily, we left enough space for waste oil -70 litre in the tank and 70 litres in boot. We left Dover midday on Tuesday and arrived in Malaga, Spain on the Friday having driven at a leisurely pace down the west coast of France and through the centre of Spain passing Madrid. Fortunately we arrived with a few litres of fuel to spare.
Whilst at Eco forest we had a number of jobs to do, including converting another vehicle, organising waste oil collections and setting up a waste recycling facility. Not forgetting digging up and clearing a load of brambles – lovely job!
The return journey from Spain was a bit different as we had an extra passenger. Not much room for importing exotic fruits, it was mainly given over to waste oil. We also cut a day off the travelling time so less leisure time and longer hours driving. Overall we came to the conclusion that Spanish waste oil was just as good as the oil from home.
The main reason I chose vegetable oil, especially waste vegetable oil, as an alternative fuel is that it is readily available and can have a Co2 neutral or negative effect on the environment. Another good reason was its ease for DIY enthusiasts to convert their own vehicles. Not to mention that peanut oil was the main fuel used in Rudolph Diesels first compression Ignition Engine (the Diesel Engine) in the 1890s. I also wanted to make a statement that it is relatively easy to run vehicles on alternative fuels and that most alternative fuels preceded the Petroleum companies and their world domination.
Future plant oil sources are being trialled. This could mean supplies coming from algae which does not have to be grown on agricultural land, it can be grown in lakes, in the sea or in tanks in the desert. Oil from algae could produce up to 15000 gallons per acre compared to 150 gallons per acre for Rapeseed. There are 500 large companies now testing this option. It is also possible to do this at home.
Using waste oil is more Eco friendly and cheaper than converting it into Biodiesel, as Biodiesel has to have chemicals and heat added to convert it, taking up to 25 times as much energy to produce, not mentioning the extra time and labour.
It is time to stop pouring waste oil into landfill or down the drain. Waste oil can be filtered and used directly as a fuel without the need for extra energy. Although it will only provide a small percentage of needed fuel it will also save on landfill and help our water supplies. Please sign this petition to help stop this waste. resource.http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/waste-vegetable-oil-recycling.html
The simplest way to recycle waste oil is to let it settle in a large tank, having first removed large food particles. The amount of time to leave this first stage is dependant on the ambient temperature. The warmer it is the quicker the small particles and water will settle to the bottom. When the oil has settled for long enough one can then either siphon or jug the oil from the surface into a 25 micron filter over another container. Make sure you watch out for particles and stop when they appear. The final stage is to pour the oil into a 5 micron filter draining into another container. Then you can pour it straight into your vehicle. The cleaner the oil is to start with the easier and quicker the process will be – your job will be a lot harder if you start with oil that is thick with sludge or water contaminated.
Some of the benefits are that the use of vegetable oil as a fuel in a car is a much safer option, as it will not catch fire until it reaches around 300 degrees Celsius. It is also non-toxic and offers reduced emissions such as: CO2 neutral, No Sulphur Dioxide and Lower NO2. You do not need to buy a new car to be kinder to the environment. The opposite in fact, converting older cars will save large amounts of CO2 from being emitted in the production of a new vehicle.
You will not notice any difference in performance ñ miles per gallon, acceleration or top speed will remain the same. Kits can often be transferred from one vehicle to the next.
Plus another bonus is that there is NO TAX to pay if you use less than 2500 litres per year.
How do the kits work?
The kits work on the same principle as used in large ships that burn crude oil – simply they heat the oil up. The car conversions work by adding heat, via heat exchangers, which are drawn from the vehicle’s coolant system. . When vegetable oil is heated it becomes less viscous and once it becomes sufficiently liquid, it can burn completely. If the oil is not heated sufficiently it does not atomise properly and cannot produce a fine spray which can be readily injected ñ this can result in a carbon build up in the engine. The idea of the two tank system is that you start up on diesel and when the engine reaches running temperature the oil becomes less viscous – at this point the system semi-automaticaly switches over to run on vegetable oil.
Nearly all diesel engines can be converted to run on vegetable oil but some injection pumps are better than others. If you are looking for a vehicle to convert make sure it is fitted with a Bosch type fuel pump. Don’t forget if you do run your vehicle on alternative fuels without telling your insurance company, your policy could be void.
You can come and see VeggiePower kits and ask us and questions at Portsmouth Green Fair Urban Green Fair and Festival Of Life where veggiepower are doing workshops/talks
For further info on the above please go to www.veggiepower.co.uk /www.ecoforest.org or phone 02392611607 and ask for Chris kennett
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