This website is a resource for biodiesel and waste vegetable oil conversions. We have instructions, DIY information and videos.
Diesel engines can sometimes run on biodiesel or biodiesel blends. Alternatively, some biodiesel engines can be modified to run on waste vegetable oil (WVO), sometimes known as straight vegetable oil.
Biodiesel is made from vegetable oils that are chemically modified through transesterification to fatty acid methyl ethers (FAME). FAMEs can be burnt in a diesel engine just like normal diesel in engines that are rated for it. Not all diesels can run on biodiesel, so check with the manufacturer first. Also engines that run on biodiesel often run on biodiesel blends with petrodiesel instead of straight biodiesel.
It’s easy to make biodiesel. All you need is vegetable oil, methanol and a catalyst which is usually sodium hydroxide (Drano). Mix the three together at home and you have a biodiesel plant at home. No more need to go to the service station!
Waste Vegetable Oil
This is just vegetable oils that are burnt in place of diesel. These engines have two tanks, one for the normal diesel which can be biodiesel, and another tank for the vegetable oil. Vegetable oil is thicker than diesel and engines cannot be started or stopped on vegetable oil because it may clog the fuel system and fuel injectors. Also the engine must be up to temperature for proper fuel atomisation. Unlike biodiesel, the vegetable oil doesn’t have to go through any chemical processes before it is run in the engine. You can just grab vegetable oil and run a diesel on it!
However, the vegetable oil must be free of water, solids and other impurities. These can be mechanically filtered out and it’s very easy to set up a filtration plant at home and run your vehicle on vegetable oil you have filtered yourself.
Who Uses Biodiesel or WVO
Anyone who uses a diesel engine! Many modern cars can run on a 10 % biodiesel blend, so you don’t even need to make any engine modifications. Modified engines can run on higher concentrations of biodiesel.
Vegetable oils are a different story because engines won’t run on vegetable oil straight out of the factory. They require different plumbing and a different tank for the vegetable oil. This is because the properties of vegetable oil are vastly different to normal diesel. It is more viscous and doesn’t burn as cleanly at low temperatures. But it’s cheaper!
Those who have access to vegetable oil are most likely to make biodiesel or use vegetable oil. A good example is farmers. For farms, biodiesel might even replace electricity connections because electricity is becoming more expensive. This website goes into details on using diesels compared to electricity for pumping irrigation water. It’s also got handy info on the water prices in Australia. https://www.wbw.net.au/
Another website I’ve come across which goes into the details of what crops are good for making biodiesel is here. http://www.hobbyfarms.com/crops-and-gardening/fuel-from-your-farm.aspx
Another example of a person who might use biodiesel or WVO is restaurant owners. They use lots of vegetable oil in cooking and frying, so owning a restaurant or becoming friendly with a restaurant owner might be a way to get vegetable oil for cheap.