Home Biodiesel Production Diary

I’m starting a diary of our use of biodiesel for a reference to those curious about getting involved. Here’s the first entry:

Biodiesel Diary: Our 1 year and counting experience with biodiesel

1/3/07

Progress thus far: Since 10/05 we have made 420 Gallons of Biodiesel using used vegetable oil from The Splash Cafe in San Luis Obispo, CA. We have spent a total of $1665 on our system and supplies thus far (not counting the cars), making our total cost per gallon $3.96, but with an ongoing supply cost of only $1.40/gallon. By the time we’ve made 650 gallons or so, we will have brought our total cost down to $2.50/gallon, the current market price for petrol diesel. From there on out, we’re saving money by making our own fuel from renewable, domestic resources.

Impressive.

We have driven over 8,000 miles in a 1984 Mercedes diesel wagon. The Mercedes ran very well with biodiesel, the only conversion we had to do was to change the fuel lines to vyton to prevent breakdown from the fuel and change the fuel filter twice over 3-6 months due to the solvent powers of biodiesel and leftover gunk in the tank from petrol diesel. These can be done fairly easily yourself or can be done for a few hundred dollars or less with a local mechanic. The mercedes never stalled, never needed other servicing and ran like a classic 22 year jalopy should – reliably and resolutely.

Current car: 2003 Jetta TD Wagon, purchased 11/06 and we’ve driven over 1000 miles with no problems. We have not modified the car in any way from stock to run our home-brew biodiesel and are doing great! We love the heated leather seats and power sunroof, not to mention that it gets over 40 miles per gallon!. I’ll post a full review of this biodiesel gem soon.

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