Dan Sharp (Green Family Expert) gives expert video advice on: Can I make my own biodiesel?; What are the drawbacks to making my own biodiesel?; Can biodiesel damage my car's engine? and more...
Can I make my own biodiesel?
You can definitely make your own biodiesel. In order to do it, you need to build a processor to make it in. You need to get used cooking oil, or some other source of oil to derive the biodiesel from. You need methanol; a catalyst of some sort, which is either potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide. In addition to that, you need all the proper safety equipment as well as check into what your local laws and regulations are regarding making it.
What are the drawbacks to making my own biodiesel?
The drawbacks to making biodiesel is that it requires a significant amount of work. Not only to build the processor and to collect the oil and to collect all the ingredients and supplies that you need, it's also potentially messy. You have got to be really careful when you're doing it and you can end up with some vegetable oil all over yourself or all over the garage. Those kind of things don't appeal to some people, so those are some of the potential drawbacks.
Can biodiesel damage my car's engine?
Most diesel engines can run on biodiesel without any trouble. I have heard of some diesel engines that are a little finicky and don't really like it. You should definitely check around and talk to some people who are using it. There is a bunch of online forums that you can ask questions about it. For your particular make or model of vehicle, definitely check. I haven't heard of anyone having damage to their diesel engine as a result of using biodiesel.
Is biodiesel cost effective?
Biodiesel is definitely cost effective, especially if you make your own. The materials cost are only about a dollar per gallon. If you're going to buy it commercially, the cost of biodiesel is really close to the current cost of petroleum diesel, and so for just slightly more you can get the environmental benefits that come along with diesel and biodiesel as well.
Where can I purchase biodiesel?
There are more and more regular gas stations that are carrying biodiesel, so keep an eye out for it in your community or check on the internet. You can probably find stations in your area that carry it. There's also ways that you can get together with other people to do a homebrew cooperative where a lot of people work together to make their own biodiesel. There's also other types of cooperatives - if there's no biodiesel available in your community then you can purchase a large quantity of it at somewhat commercial scale, and then a group of people can get together and split that up.