Can cooking oil fuel my car?
Every year, more and more people are becoming aware of the consequences of burning fossil fuels and the terrible impact it is having on our environment. As a result many people and businesses are looking for more eco-friendly ways of creating power and alternative energy sources for vehicle machinery and equipment.
There are already lots of alternatives for power, solar, wind, water and even ground source heat pumps, but is there a better way to fuel our cars and equipment, other than relying on diesel or petrol?
Yes of course! Lots of vehicles are now electric, some can run on solar energy and some are even running liquid hydrogen! But while these options are becoming more cost effective, they are not yet as cheap as diesel or petrol.
So what would work? One of the most viable alternative fuels, or biofuels, is vegetable oil! When recycled for use as a biodiesel it can be used to power vehicles, and even industrial machinery.
Can I put cooking oil in my car?
The short answer is that, if your car has a diesel engine, then yes, you could use cooking oil to fuel it, but you really shouldn’t.
Biodiesel is a fuel that can be used almost anywhere that diesel is used, and this fuel is usually made from recycled and refined waste cooking oil. But if you chose to pour cooking oil directly into your fuel tank, you’re likely to experience problems. Cooking oils, especially used cooking oil, are very thick, sticky and contain impurities from the cooking process. This means it will not flow easily through your engine, and your engine will struggle to burn it in an efficient way. It will solidify and build up in the engine and other parts of the vehicle, reducing the flow of fuel, damaging the engine and causing it to burn out or stall.
How can I turn waste oil into fuel?
There is a process where used cooking oil can be easily turned into an efficient fuel. This is called transesterification, and involves mixing the fuel with alcohol and sodium chloride. Following the transesterification, you’ll be left with methyl ester, or biodiesel, and an alcohol byproduct.
Sounds simple, right? It’s not. Please don’t try this at home; leave it to the experts.
The chemical compounds are difficult to get right and if mixed or processed incorrectly, creating a chemical reaction of any kind can be very dangerous!