French fries & cars

Oh! Oh! This being USA, I should probably have stated more correctly, freedom fry cars..

When my son first told me about this, I was taken aback; first I thought he was joking as he does so often – pulling the old man’s leg. Then I started picking up French fry smell in the middle of the highway with just mountains around and Arun said, see dad, what did I tell you?? What an idea!! You do a small modification to your ‘diesel’ engine car, go to the nearest McDonald’s or KFC or whoever and buy a few drums of their waste oils (French fry waste) for a pittance, they may even pay you to take it away!! You can’t yet fill it into you car (you have to refine that stuff – take away the fatty acids etc) and drive on, but almost. Of course you irritate the guy behind you since there is a strong French fry smell in the exhaust emissions…but well, who cares about that!! With gas at US$ 3.30 a gallon and higher in California, this is a bright idea…costs $1 or less per gallon.

Normally
done with diesel cars or trucks…the conversion kit is available online. SVO or straight vegetable oil or WVO waste vegetable oil is perfect for hot places like California (it congeals in colder places). Biodiesel is another thing and is different from SVO, where the fuel itself is properly made with the oil mix and costs a little bit more than diesel. Our governor Arnold Schwazenagger drives a Hummer run on bio diesel. A chap called ford popularized SVO, there is an award winning movie about this called ‘French fries to go’. Personally I think it will be good in cities like Chennai – hot and developing, with the fast food giants coming in….(Note that this won’t work on a petrol or gasoline car as vegetable oil, in simple terms, is far too thick to burn in a gas engine).But then, I guess if the Tata plans work out, it will be much better in India, with cars running on compressed air. In a recent pollution map, I saw that India is spewing muck into the air, at much higher rates than others – so this will go a long way to sort that problem out…

If you wanted to make the fuel yourself, the system might cost in the region of $500, also you need to make friends with the nearest fast food outlets…The car kit is around $900 or less ( make sure you buy an old diesel car, like the Mercedes300D). If you are really serious about setting up one, check this forum out, they go down to the
pennies and the nuts & bolts needed. Pay back is in less than 6 months and then it is happy driving for 75 cents a gallon…Yup, you also need some space for the fuel plant!!

And I remembered my
old transformer oil story. Hey, I heard Prince Charles is converting his Jags to Biodiesel

Another great SVO site, even tells you how to make the fuel. And another….

Picture of the fuel making
from this page

Comments

Kuttan said…
Ah the old man is turning bit of green??
Pradeep said…
A day will come when such things will gain more popularity. I don't know if you are aware... some 10 years back, a guy call Ramar Pillai in Tamil Nadu said he could produce petrol from water or some herbal mixes or something like that... He created quite a wave. But all flopped when he couldn't demonstrate it effectively before a panel of IISc scientists and he wouldn't reveal his formula... Later there was a story that in his village in TN he runs a small business of producing petrol in this fashion... Never really understood this...
Pratish Menon said…
Wow, now that's quite some useful info! :)
Red Soul said…
Oh my!

And the gas is gonna be $4 :(

I hate this, I love driving, and I cannot sit at home on weekends!

Just yesterday I filled in $2.9/g in NJ......
Maddy said…
Kuttan - Thanks for dropping by, personally I am not a big green guy, as yet...Not yet sold on to the idea I guess!!
Pradeep - I had tried checking Ramar pillai's theory, I had thought that it was bunkum, but never found too much material on it..I hope the air car from tata comes out!!
Hey Pratish - thanks..
redsoul- it is 3.50 and rising in cal, we have miles to drive in this part of the world!! so the cost is rather too much...
Red Soul said…
yes I hear a lot abt Californian ways of life :p U been to NY? people at ur place have big houses and cars, and they cook at home,.. I ve heard. But here.. we have such tiny apartments for HUGE rents...

and do u remem that TV song on DD1 in India... aamchi maati, aamchi manase :p
diyadear said…
maddy,
that really sounds cool.. pretty informative all ur posts r to me..
n let me tell u there r no KFc's in chennai.. it was sumthing we used to cry abt..
Maddy said…
Pradeep - BTW Ramar pillai got caught some years ago and apparently admitted to CBI that it was all faked..i think he got jailed..

http://www.expressindia.com/ie/daily/20000315/ina15002.html

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