Power Up With Recycled Cooking Oil
Biofuels might be the help small farmers are looking for to ease rapidly increasing energy costs.
The high price of diesel fuel doesn’t bother Henry Brockman: He runs his truck and tractor on recycled vegetable oil – a move that saves him more than $1,000 annually. Brockman, who farms 10 acres in central Illinois, buys his environmentally friendly fuel from a rural neighbor who filters vegetable oil as a hobby.
“It’s great when doing the right thing for the environment also saves money,” he says.
What’s fueling the movement?
Lifestyle farmers can reap plenty of benefits by using biofuels to power diesel vehicles and equipment. In addition to possible cost savings, other advantages include biodegradability and low carbon dioxide exhaust emissions.
Biofuels decrease our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. They also help our national economy because we’re using renewable resources grown or produced right here in the United States.
This issue is so important that the 25 x ’25 Plan, a congressional resolution with bipartisan support, has an ambitious mission: By 2025, America’s farms, forests and ranches will provide 25 percent of our nation’s total energy supply. (To learn more visit, www.25x25.org)
The raw truth
Brockman is fortunate to have a dependable neighbor to supply his raw oil fuel. If you’re not lucky enough to have a local source, you always can produce the oil yourself – if you don’t mind filtering used cooking oils. Your local greasy spoons or fast-food restaurants probably will be happy to provide an ample supply for free.
Using straight vegetable oil takes special equipment to filter it properly– you can’t just put used french fry grease directly into your tank. You’ll also need to modify your diesel-run equipment. Check with your original equipment manufacturer (OEM) so you won’t inadvertently damage your vehicles or void the OEM warranty.
Also, there may be an added state or local tax on a homebrew biofuel operation. Check with your state’s department of revenue.
Biodiesel may be one practical, workable option for lifestyle farmers because it comes ready-made and acts as a lubricant that can extend equipment life, saving repair costs and minimizing downtime.
“Biodiesel is primarily made from soybean oil or other oil-bearing crops such as canola. However, biodiesel can be made from any vegetable oil or animal fat,” says Amber Thurlo Pearson of the National Biodiesel Board, headquartered in Jefferson City, Missouri.
Page: 1 | 2
| Next >>