eli5 What are the downsides of taking a diesel powered truck and converting it to run on used cooking oil?

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I’ve seen it done before and was wondering if it’d be worthwhile investment to add kitchen oil removal to my existing family’s trash service and basically get paid to collect fuel for my garbage trucks.

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Anonymous 0 Comments

Sorry if I should’ve chose one of the other flairs I just thought this question could fall under multiple categories.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Sorry if I should’ve chose one of the other flairs I just thought this question could fall under multiple categories.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Sorry if I should’ve chose one of the other flairs I just thought this question could fall under multiple categories.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The real downside is the modifications that you’ll need to make to your fuel system to get this to work.

Vegetable oil is a lot thicker than diesel fuel, so while you technically can filter the oil and throw it straight into your fuel tank, it’ll slowly clog the engine because it’ll have a hard time atomizing it in the cylinder.

Instead, what you want to do is have a two-tank design: you’ll use regular diesel to start your car up and before you shut it off, and you’ll have a second, heated tank to thin out the vegetable oil. (Additionally, you’ll want to install new injector nozzles to make it work even better.) Partway through driving, you’ll flip a toggle switch that will start drawing oil out of the secondary tank.

For most people, this isn’t worthwhile because the cost of vegetable oil runs close to that of diesel, so it’s hard to recapture the cost of the engine modifications. If you can reduce that cost, though — or even, as you say, get paid to collect it — and you don’t mind the labor of filtering the oil before you use it, you could actually get somewhere with this.

I’d do some serious market analysis before you embark, though.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I had a friend do this on an old school bus. He installed two 55-gallon tanks under the back of the bus with heaters. He installed heaters in the lines as well. He would start the bus on regular diesel then after a few minutes he would switch it over. He said as long as you switch back to diesel before you turn it off it works just fine. He drove across the country and back and claimed to have only stopped for an actual diesel fill-up once. He said restaurants would let him take as much oil as he wanted because they didn’t have to pay to haul it off.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The real downside is the modifications that you’ll need to make to your fuel system to get this to work.

Vegetable oil is a lot thicker than diesel fuel, so while you technically can filter the oil and throw it straight into your fuel tank, it’ll slowly clog the engine because it’ll have a hard time atomizing it in the cylinder.

Instead, what you want to do is have a two-tank design: you’ll use regular diesel to start your car up and before you shut it off, and you’ll have a second, heated tank to thin out the vegetable oil. (Additionally, you’ll want to install new injector nozzles to make it work even better.) Partway through driving, you’ll flip a toggle switch that will start drawing oil out of the secondary tank.

For most people, this isn’t worthwhile because the cost of vegetable oil runs close to that of diesel, so it’s hard to recapture the cost of the engine modifications. If you can reduce that cost, though — or even, as you say, get paid to collect it — and you don’t mind the labor of filtering the oil before you use it, you could actually get somewhere with this.

I’d do some serious market analysis before you embark, though.

Anonymous 0 Comments

**Getting the oil**: you’ll need to work with places who likely already have contracts in place to instead use your services to reclaim their waste oil. This can be difficult depending on your location as there may only be a few players who have monopolies on the service so it can be difficult to compete on price.

Additionally, if you don’t already have the equipment necessary to get the oil from a grease trap you’ll need to invest in that

 

**Cleaning the oil**: This is probably the most important step as used cooking oil is often full of particulate matter (small PPM level soot/etc. as well as larger items like chicken bones) that will need to be filtered, but you’ll also need to ensure you’re properly drying the oil to remove excess water. This will require space and equipment and can be quite involved (this isn’t including the space requirements of just storing the feedstock or finished fuel).

You’ll also need to get used to testing (usually via sending samples to a dedicated facility) your oil-fuel to make sure its consistent as you’ll want to avoid large variance from batch to batch in your finished product.

 

**Using the fuel**: ToxiClay already spoke to this but the key is the viscosity which you’ll need to keep in mind.

 

These are just some things to keep in mind if you want to go this route.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I had a friend do this on an old school bus. He installed two 55-gallon tanks under the back of the bus with heaters. He installed heaters in the lines as well. He would start the bus on regular diesel then after a few minutes he would switch it over. He said as long as you switch back to diesel before you turn it off it works just fine. He drove across the country and back and claimed to have only stopped for an actual diesel fill-up once. He said restaurants would let him take as much oil as he wanted because they didn’t have to pay to haul it off.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I had a friend do this on an old school bus. He installed two 55-gallon tanks under the back of the bus with heaters. He installed heaters in the lines as well. He would start the bus on regular diesel then after a few minutes he would switch it over. He said as long as you switch back to diesel before you turn it off it works just fine. He drove across the country and back and claimed to have only stopped for an actual diesel fill-up once. He said restaurants would let him take as much oil as he wanted because they didn’t have to pay to haul it off.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The real downside is the modifications that you’ll need to make to your fuel system to get this to work.

Vegetable oil is a lot thicker than diesel fuel, so while you technically can filter the oil and throw it straight into your fuel tank, it’ll slowly clog the engine because it’ll have a hard time atomizing it in the cylinder.

Instead, what you want to do is have a two-tank design: you’ll use regular diesel to start your car up and before you shut it off, and you’ll have a second, heated tank to thin out the vegetable oil. (Additionally, you’ll want to install new injector nozzles to make it work even better.) Partway through driving, you’ll flip a toggle switch that will start drawing oil out of the secondary tank.

For most people, this isn’t worthwhile because the cost of vegetable oil runs close to that of diesel, so it’s hard to recapture the cost of the engine modifications. If you can reduce that cost, though — or even, as you say, get paid to collect it — and you don’t mind the labor of filtering the oil before you use it, you could actually get somewhere with this.

I’d do some serious market analysis before you embark, though.