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Publication Title | Making your own fuel from vegetable oil can be easy, cost- effective, and environmentally beneficial.

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Joshua & Kaia

Tickell ©1999 Joshua & Kaia Tickell

Restaurant fryer filters are available at restaurant supply stores and are excellent for filtering food particles out of used cooking oil.

Making your own fuel from

vegetable oil can be easy, cost-

effective, and environmentally beneficial. What makes this fuel even more attractive is that you can make it from the waste vegetable oil produced in the United States every year, which amounts to more than three billion gallons. With a bit of know-how and persistence, you can run any diesel engine on vegetable oil.

Only diesel engines can run on vegetable oil-based fuels. This means that any engine that has spark plugs and is made for leaded or unleaded gasoline cannot use vegetable oil fuel. If you want a practical homemade fuel for a gasoline engine, you might consider making ethanol, methane, or wood gas.

Grow Your Fuel

We produce a large quantity of used vegetable oil in the United States, but there is an oilseed crop you can grow no matter where you live. The possibilities include coconut, soybean, canola (rapeseed), sunflower, safflower, corn, palm kernel, peanut, jatropha, and hundreds more. To learn which vegetable oil crop is best suited for your area, contact your state’s office of agriculture, the agriculture department of a local university, or talk to local farmers.

One of the crops with the highest yield of oil per acre is canola. From just one acre of canola, you can produce 100 gallons (379 l) of vegetable oil. The most common oilseed crop in the U.S. is soybeans, which produce 50 gallons (189 l) of vegetable oil per acre.

Growing your own oilseed crop has an added bonus. The meal that is separated from the oil is an excellent source of protein. This meal can be used as animal feed or in breads, spreads, and other food products.

Pressing the oil from the seed does not require a large, expensive press. TabbyPressen of Sweden makes a

84 Home Power #72 • August / September 1999

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