I wanted to share a little more about my last article about running my veggie powered big rig around the US for 200k mile on 100% recycled vegetable oil savaged from cooking vats in restaurants.
The first real information I explored about veggie powered diesel engines was from a website: greasecar.com. They are a company who help people understand and implement plans to convert diesel engines to use recycled vegetable oil.
It is interesting that the person this engine is named after Rufolf Diesel who was a contemporary of Thomas Edison originally designed the engine to run on renewable resources namely peanut oil for farmers to use in the fields.
Greasecar really is a supplier of part for people to do their own conversions. They did refer me to a man who has a company called Smarter Fuel, Dave Dunham of Pa. He had personally done several conversions for commercial vehicles but his main roll is to collect and process used veggie oil to make fuel. I contacted Dave Dunham to help do my conversion since I am no mechanic and at the time was driving all over the country in my big rig.
This was a new frontier for us since very few people have attempted such a thing. Imagine a big rig driving 3 to 4 thousand miles a week at about 6 miles to the gallon. That is a lot of fuel, especially since there are no fuel pumps at truck stops along the freeways that offer veggie oil as fuel. Some of the significant issues were a large enough and convenient supply of this wonderful alternative fuel; extra storage on the truck since it would be longer between fill ups; and the mystery of how the fuel would perform under normal driving conditions of a big rig.
I am not one to get discouraged easily especially since I saw the potential savings. The largest expense any trucking company has is the cost of fuel. There is some money to be made trucking but there is a very high overhead of costs associated with it. Can you imagine saving $1.00 to $1.50 on each gallon of fuel used, knowing that a truck like that goes through 500 to 600 gallons a week for single driver, more if it a team of drivers and I was a trainer at the time I started. I saw 3 big steps to take to accomplish the goal of using recycled veggie oil as my primary fuel driving the big rig. The 3 steps were first; extra storage capacity – extra tanks installed on the vehicle, second; doing the actual conversion – it would cost $500 and probably a week of down time, third; engineering my route to get to my source of fuel every week for a fill up. cara cek ongkos kirim
I first went to a salvage yard in Texas and found two 150 gallon tanks that I had room to install on the truck frame behind the two original 100 gallon tanks and I had them installed. I also got two 60 gallon plastic barrels that I strapped to the catwalk just behind the cab. That gave me a total storage capacity of a little over 600 gallons of fuel. I designated one tank to keep diesel fuel in since I still needed to start and stop on diesel fuel since the veggie oil needed to be heated before it when in the engine. For the third step I engineered through my company a dedicated run up and down the east coast so I could regularly get to eastern Pennsylvania where Dave and Smarter Fuel were located. With this much fuel storage I could get down to Fla. where my home is, and back with a single fill up. Finally, I scheduled some time when Dave could do the conversion. It was helpful that his father owned a small trucking company and he let me drive for him during the week my truck was being converted so I wouldn’t have to go without pay for a whole week.
I first got the idea in about January of 2005. I bought the used truck a 2000 Freightliner Century in May of 2005. I found Dave Dunham and Smarter Fuel about June and started using his fuel blended up to 50% for some experimental runs. All went well so I wanted to proceed. I installed the extra tanks in August. I remember that because I was in east Texas and northern Louisiana during hurricane Katrina. November of 2005 I had my conversion done so I was up and running with in before Dec. of that year.
That is enough for now, I am confident there will be other installments.