Source: CC photo on Flickr by rrelam
There’s a new gas in town and it smells like French fries. Biodiesel is a great way to power a vehicle without having to use fossil fuels. As long as you don't use petroleum based fertilizers, the plants that grew the oil for the biodiesel absorbed the same carbon that the car releases into the atmosphere. And as long as you keep planting more crops that carbon is offset by the new crops. You can even use oil that has already been used for cooking. But how do you start using this wonder elixer? First you need a car that runs on diesel (you can also use biodiesel to run a generator) and then you might need do do a fairly easy conversion to winterize your car for biodiesel. Older cars need their rubber fuel lines replaced with synthetic ones. Finally you need to get or make your fuel.
Where do you find a car and the fuel? Well if you live in California, those tasks can be handled by a professional. Biobling is a company that will help connect you with a car just like Match.com will help connect you with a mate. Because a car is no good if you can’t drive it, Biobling also hooks you up with fuel.
But biodiesel is still very much a do-it-yourself craft for many people. Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Warren Vermont, actually offers a class on modifying your vehicle and two lucky registrants can have their car modified during the course. Everyone else will have to wait until they get home.
How do you get your biodiesel? Make Magazine had an article in it’s third issue about making a tiny batch of biodiesel which explains the basic ideas. There are several homebrew biodiesel websites which show how the community has developed systems for making medium sized batches, and you can even take classes to learn that too. But there are also a lot more gas stations that sell the stuff than you would imagine. Go to NearBio.com to find biodiesel near your home, or use the trip wizard to plan your route.
Homebrew and Enthusiast sites:
Collaborative Biodiesel Tutorial: Has plans and tutorials for many processing systems
It's Good For You Biodiesel FAQ: Answers all of your questions in a non-technical manner
GirlMark.com: She offers courses on making your own biodiesel