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How to Make Biodiesel

In the eternal search for cheaper fuels, and a way to eliminate the use of fossil fuel from our environment, some clever researchers have come up with a way of making your own biodiesel fuel. But while it is often promoted as something you can "make at home", there are a number of things to consider, first.

Biodiesel if made from vegetable oils or animal fast, or a combination of both. The most prevalent is SVO, or straight vegetable oil. And while you can "make" it at home, few households have the base product in a large enough quantity to be of any use in a motor vehicle.

However, some companies are now turning to the recycling of oils from restaurant, bakery and other deep fryers, collecting it in massive tanks to be blended and re-sold as a bioldiesel fuel. Technically, it can be done at home, but the logistics of acquiring that much oil, mixing and storing it, is the main problem. For example, to make SVO from restaurant oil, known as WVO or waste vegetable oil, you must dewater, filter and deacidify it.

On the plus side, many people have been making their own biodiesel fuel for years. Consider that an average household uses about 600 gallons of gas a year. That can cost you upwards of $1700, depending on the markets. But the simple ingredients used to process biodiesel, including such things as lye, are cheap and easily available. Your end cost after production expenses, is about one-quarter of fossil fuel.

So if you're concerned with the environment and your pocketbook, by all means, do some research on making bioldiesel, starting with all clean products, to eliminate the cleaning and storage of waste oils. You may just find that with biodiesel, you're really cooking!