Grease Becoming A Slick Investment

24 05 2008

Interesting story the other day in the Chicago Tribune on grease:

In the era of alternative fuels, grease is turning into a pretty slick investment.

Restaurants increasingly are being paid for their used cooking oil, icky stuff that historically they’ve had to pay to have hauled away. And sales of kits that allow diesel-powered cars to run on used cooking oil are soaring.

With all the attention, rendering firms are reporting a surge in grease thefts.

Grease’s rising star stems from rising energy prices. Demand for biodiesel is soaring, putting pressure on supplies of used vegetable oil, which can be used to make the alternative fuel.

While the market for grease is changing from paying to give it away to paying to get it, its still a bargain to recycle it into bio-diesel. How much is it costing you to drive that 15-passenger van to church, the grocery store, etc. every week? Well just imagine how much you could save converting used grease into bio-diesel at $.055 to $1.00 per gallon.

And then imagine how much an entire church could save if they formed a bio-diesel cooperative, helping each other by collecting grease and chipping in for the processing equipment! (Of course, they’d all need to sell the gassers and get diesel vans first.)

If you’re interested in the idea, here’s the sources that will help you get started.

Start with Maria Alovert (aka “girlMark”), who is one of the experts in the small-scale production of bio-diesel and has a book and classes that are highly recommended.

Consider taking one of her beginner’s classes, where you learn the basics, build your own reactor and take it home. It costs $75 (plus the cost of your equipment). And who doesn’t want to own their own reactor? For the class, you buy the equipment kit here which costs a little over $500. In addition to the kit you’ll need to find a used water heater and 55 gallon drum(s) to complete the system.

Here’s some more info on the “Appleseed Reactor” which is what you’ll want to build for small-scale production. There is lots of good info there. It is possible that if you can scavenge some of the parts (another advantage of a group of people working at this cooperatively) that you wouldn’t need to spend the money for the kit.

REACTOR!

Finally, here is Alovert’s book which is the basic manual.

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