Fuel Collection and Filtration Overview.
One man's trash is another man's fuel.
Clean fuel is essential to operating your Greasecar reliably. A well thought out plan on how you are going to transform waste oil into clean and inexpensive fuel will dramatically increase your success with Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO). You should ONLY use vegetable oil on converted diesel engine’s, otherwise you will run the risk of ruining your engine (gas engines cannot be modified to use WVO).
Is the process of transforming waste into fuel. To do so you must separate the water, food particles, and hydrogenated oils from the oil you want to use as fuel. Most pre-filtration systems use, heat, gravity and time to get the job done.
· Fuel Filter
This filter lives under the hood of your vehicle and filter’s out any last second junk that might have gotten into the fuel after you’ve poured the fuel into your tank and before it goes into the engine.
To produce quality fuel, you will need:
· Asource of good oil
Good oil contains no water, no bacteria and very little solid matter.Pre-filtering heavily contaminated oil is more time, trouble and money than it’s worth. If you live with in the delivery zone of a company like SmarterFuel you can get professionally filtered oil delivered to your door.
· An efficient pre-filtration system
A pre-filtration system handles the process of separating water, food particles, and hydrogenated oils from the good stuff.
Side note: A good measuring stick for the quality of your source and the effectiveness of your pre-filtration system is your fuel filter. The longer your fuel filter lasts the better your source and pre-filtration system is. The average source and pre-filtration system should get you about two thousand miles out of your fuel filter. Professionally filtered oil will get you around ten thousand miles.
Restaurants are the most common source of waste oil. A good rule of thumb is the better the restaurant, the better the oil. You’ll want to find a place that changes their oil often and does not fry a lot of heavily battered foods – flour in the oil can clog a filter very quickly. Also make sure that the water used to wash the fryers does not get mixed in with the waste oil, and that the oil is stored indoors or in water-tight containers.
· Other sources
People with turkey fryers, local carnivals and fairs
Hydrogenated and Non-hydrogenated Oil
Arranging Oil Pick-up from a Restaurant
There are several key things to keep in mind when approaching a restaurant for access to their waste oil:
· Be professional and organized
Although no money is changing hands, you are proposing a business relationship with the source. Call ahead and set up a meeting, or approach the manager during a quiet period, rather than interrupting during a lunch or dinner rush. Bring a copy of this manual or other literature to help them understand what you intend to do.
· Be respectful and courteous
Don’t act like you’re doing them a favor; you may be saving them money, but they’re providing you with a service in return. Assure them that the restaurant’s efficient operation is a priority and that your oil collection will not disturb their patrons or distract their employees. The storage containers usually belong to the rendering company that has an agreement with the restaurant to collect their oil. You should always contact the restaurant before taking oil out of these containers as it could be considered stealing by the rendering company.
· Plan ahead
Come prepared with ideas for filtration, pickup and storage, and propose a pickup schedule based on the amount of oil they produce. See the section below for information on collecting and transporting waste vegetable oil from the restaurant.
Designing a Filtration System
There are many different choices to make in designing an efficient home filtration system. Excellent, comprehensive home filtration systems are available from Greasecar, but many people elect to build their own. There are several key components in every successful home filtration system:
Stationary Filtration Kit
Onboard filter and pump
It’s important to choose the right pump for the job. Choose a pump rated for waste oil or diesel transfer.
- Electric pumps are the most common choice. You can use a 12-volt DC pump on board your vehicle or plug a 110-volt AC pump into the wall socket at home. Prices range from fifty to several hundred dollars.
- Hand-operatedpumps are driven by a lever or crank and can be quite a workout. To make sure you’re getting a sturdy one, spend at least $50.
- Air-drivenor pneumaticpumps can be safely used with viscous liquids with little risk of damage. Pneumatic pumps are driven by an air compressor.
Filters come in a large variety of sizes, styles and ratings.
- The micron ratingof a filter tells you the size of the particles it will filter out. (One micron is one thousandth of a millimeter.) You will want to filter your oil to five microns. An absoluteratingmeans it will filter more than 95% of the particles it’s rated for. A nominal ratingmeans it will catch a far lower percentage, and oil should be run through it twice or three times.
- Bag filterslike the one included with the kit are designed to be used inside a pressurized canister, and the larger sizes are suitable for gravity filtration as well. To speed this process, heat the oil to 110-130ºF before pouring it into the filter.
- Inline filters, like the onboard system, require a pump to force the oil through them. Do not use motor oil filters, as they contain an internal pressure relief valve that will allow the oil to bypass the filter when they begin to clog.
- Old Jeans and T-shirts can be used as a pre-filter to remove larger food particles and extend the life of your filter
If you use a steel barrel for oil storage, you can use a barrel heater to heat the oil for transfer or filtration. These are included in Greasecar home filtration kits but can be hard to find elsewhere.
If you need to store your oil, a common choice is a reconditioned 55-gallon drum with a secure lid. These are readily available for around $20 from a local barrel supplier. Check the yellow pages for contact information.
Storage for long periods of time can be accomplished with a sealed container, moderate temperatures, and a dose of biocide to prevent bacterial contamination.
Dirty fuel is the leading cause of problems with poor vehicle performance, so a good filtration system is the key to reliable operation. There will be an initial learning curve, but you’ll soon find that independent control of your fuel supply is a highly rewarding experience.
Copyright © Greasecar Vegetable Fuel Systems, LLC 2007
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