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Saturday, September 02, 2006
TITONKA, Iowa- Jon Zwiefel began making biodiesel fuel for his car in January.

The rural Titonka resident first began talking about it because of high gas prices, but what finally prompted him to take the plunge was people telling him he cold'nt do it.

"When people laugh at me for getting a harebrained idea, I like to prove them worng", he said.

Zwiefel did research on the Internet and found out a lot other people around the country are making biodiesel from used vegetable oil.

He ordered a chemical kit, and built a processor. He could have bought a processor but decided "it kind of defeats the purpose if you spend $3,000 for machine that makes fuel".

Zwiefel gets his used vegetable oil from restaurants.

"Mostly, they are pretty happy to give it away," he said.

Zwiefel makes a 10-gallon batch of biodiesel fuel once a weeek.

He heats the oil 120 degrees F. The he pumps it into the processor. After it goes through the processor for 10minutes, he takes out a 1ml sample to determine how much fat it contains. This tells him how much lye to add.

"That's the tricky part," Zwiefel said.

After lye and methanol are added, he mixes the oil in the processor for an hour; then drains the glycerin out through the tube. What's left is biodiesel fuel.

Before putting it in his tank, "I like to leave it sit for a few days,"Zwiefel said.

Zwiefel always makes a 1-liter test batch before making a full batch. He said the fuel can power any kind of diesel engine.

Zwiefel drives a volkswagen Rabbit, which gets a 50 miles per gallon. Making his own fuel saves him even more money. He estimates it consts about 75cents to make a gallon of biodiesel fuel, inlcuding labor.

(Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS/ Mary Pieper)
posted by infraternam meam @ 12:36 AM  
  • At 5:46 AM, Blogger Sidney said…

    I might need to do the same! Fuel prices here in Mnl doubled in 4 years! :-(

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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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