Biodiesel is a form of diesel fuel manufactured from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant greases. It is safe, biodegradable, and produces less air pollutants compared to petroleum-based diesel.
Biodiesel can be used in its pure form or blended with petroleum diesel. Therefore, no modifications are required, and the result is a less-expensive, renewable, clean-burning fuel.
Most vehicle manufacturers approve blends up to B5, and some approve blends up to B20. Check with your owner’s manual or vehicle manufacturer to determine the right blend for your vehicle, since using the wrong blend could damage your engine and/or void the manufacturer’s warranty.
Make Your Own Biodiesel
Yield: 1 liter biodiesel
- 1 heavy-duty blender that will not be used for food preparation purposes any more. Glass is the best way to go, as the plastic might melt after repeated uses.
- Keep a fire extinguisher and the phone handy.
- 200 ml (about 6.7 ounces) methanol (caution: methanol can cause blindness. Be careful!)
- 3.5 grams (about .12345 ounces) lye
- 1 liter (about 1.056 US quarts or .264 gallons) oil — if it’s reused, you’ll need to filter it and heat it to at least 215 degrees F, to remove any water
Place methanol and lye in blender. Blend. Stop. Blend some more. You have now created sodium methoxide. The sides of the blender should be getting hot. At this point, the mixture can eat through your skin and the fumes are explosive and dangerous to inhale. Don’t let that fire extinguisher and telephone get too far out of reach.
Pour vegetable oil in with the sodium methoxide. Blend for 15 minutes. Cheaper blenders can and will fall apart during this process of continuous blending. I like to sing to the mixture right about now. Any good country song will do-something with a good beat. Stop blending and singing after 15 minutes. If done correctly, two layers will form. The bottom layer is glycerin, a by-product of the procedure, and the other layer is biodiesel. The glycerin can be safely composted or made into soap to clean up the mess in the kitchen.