How to Run a Diesel Engine on Vegetable Oil: FAQs The Great Biodiesel Story

BioDiesel FAQs

What about TAX?

Some states and countries will require you to pay the required taxes if the fuel is used on the roads. EG. in Britain you will need to contact Customs and Excise who will require you to fill in a couple of forms and pay a fuel tax.

Compare that to what you’d pay at the pumps and Autoinfo have brought you another amazing moneysaver!

What is Biodiesel?

Biodiesel is a substitute fuel for users of traditional diesel fuel, commonly called ULSD or Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel.

Biodiesel is produced primarily from waste or used vegetable cooking oils utilising a special process that changes the characteristics of the oil to finish with a product that will power a diesel engine without any modification.

Is Biodiesel as good as normal Diesel?

Rest assured. Biodiesel is far better than ULSD if you take all the environmental advantages into account. You will notice little, if any, difference in performance.

You can completely substitute your normal diesel fuel with biodiesel or mix it in any proportion.

Good website, but I have a couple of questions:

1) The reason for using methanol and NaOH was to remove chemicals that gum up the motor. What are the longer term effects of just adding white spirit?

2) What about the supplies of waste oil? Seems to me they are finite and limited and will rapidly rise in price so that biodiesel will be only just cheaper than taxed DERV. What do you reckon?

There was a feature on vegoil on BBC’s Top Gear so I investigated it further.

I read a lot of scientific studies and tests on the subject and it most definitely works – there’s even a company in Birmingham (UK) that recycles used oil and turns out Biodiesel.

It is my understanding that the white spirit is added to lower the viscosity not to remove chemicals. The only biproduct of the refinement process is glycerin which is burnt of during combution. It is vegoil’s higher viscosity that causes the problems.

Pure vegoil will gum up the injectors – eventually – you could replace them many times over with the money saved but the addition of a solvent eliminates the need. I would run a tank of derv and injector cleaner (available from car accessory shops) periodically just to service the injectors. I have always done this anyway.

Top Gear tested our Biodiesel recipie and it worked – I’d imagine they did their homework also before broadcasting it to the nation?

In the third world and inaccessible areas they use all sorts of oils – rape seed, sunflower, palm oil….for generators and cars because of the price and scarcity of derv.

Longer term?

Supplies of waste oil are massive and it is a waste disposal problem but even if they do dry up it’ll still be cheaper to buy a chip fryer and heat the oil up – plus you could sell the chips as a sideline!!!

Glad you like the site – check out the parking and speeding fines book – these are real loopholes police, friends I have used successfully!

Will Biodiesel affect my engine warranty?

Biodiesel should meet what is considered to be the highest biodiesel standard DIN51606, and as such, will meet the EC standard currently under discussion EN14214. Almost all major manufacturers now accept these standards as evidence of compliance to be used in diesel engines, without modification.

Besides who’s going to know!

Why is Biodiesel environmentally friendly?

The biggest reason is the positive effect on the environment. Biodiesel does not contribute to net CO2 in the atmosphere, creates 30% less particulate emissions, 93% less hydrocarbons, 50% lower carbon monoxide emissions, and 50-85% less PAH’s (health risk hydrocarbons associated with diesel fuel).

It produces less offensive fumes, and, has a very high flash point, making it one of the safest of alternative fuels.

On top of all these benefits Biodiesel is produced from a sustainable, renewable raw material. Use biodiesel and you will be helping to protect the world.

(UK) Additionally, by the end of 2002, it is quite likely that waste cooking oils will be banned from use in producing animal feeds to safeguard human and animal health. This change in government policy could lead to wholesale illegal disposal of waste cooking oil in drains and landfill sites.

Biodiesel is therefore probably the most effective way of disposing of waste vegetable cooking oils in an eco friendly manner.

Will my car pass emission tests?

Yes it will- provided the engine is in good technical condition. Mostly, vehicles run on vegoil have lower rates of particles as vegoil contains more oxygen than diesel and so has a cleaner combustion.

Biodiesel Benefits

  1. Biodiesel runs in any conventional, unmodified diesel engine. No engine modifications are necessary to use biodiesel and there is no “engine conversion.” In other words, “you just pour it into the fuel tank.”
  2. Biodiesel can be stored anywhere that petroleum diesel fuel is stored. All diesel fueling infrastructure including pumps, tanks and transport trucks can use biodiesel without modifications.
  3. Biodiesel reduces Carbon Dioxide emissions, the primary cause of the Greenhouse Effect, by up to 100%. Since biodiesel comes from plants and plants breathe carbon dioxide, there is no net gain in carbon dioxide from using biodiesel.
  4. Biodiesel can be used alone or mixed in any amount with petroleum diesel fuel. A 20% blend of biodiesel with diesel fuel is called “B20,” a 5% blend is called “B5” and so on.
  5. Biodiesel is more lubricating than diesel fuel, it increases the engine life and it can be used to replace sulfur, a lubricating agent that, when burned, produces sulfur dioxide – the primary component in acid rain. Instead of sulfur, all diesel fuel sold in France contains 5% biodiesel.
  6. Biodiesel is safe to handle because it is biodegradable and non-toxic. According to the National Biodiesel Board, “neat biodiesel is as biodegradable as sugar and less toxic than salt.”
  7. Biodiesel is safe to transport. Biodiesel has a high flash point, or ignition temperature, of about 300 deg. F compared to petroleum diesel fuel, which has a flash point of 125 deg. F.
  8. Engines running on biodiesel run normally and have similar fuel mileage to engines running on diesel fuel. Auto ignition, fuel consumption, power output, and engine torque are relatively unaffected by biodiesel.
  9. Biodiesel has a pleasant aroma similar to popcorn popping in comparison to the all-too-familiar stench of petroleum diesel fuel.

Biodiesel Emissions

Overall biodiesel emissions are lower than gasoline or diesel fuel emissions (with the exception of NOx, which we discuss on the next page). Compared to diesel, biodiesel produces no sulfur, no net carbon dioxide, up to 20 times less carbon monoxide and more free oxygen. Biodiesel has the following emissions characteristics when compared with petroleum diesel fuel:

  • Reduction of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) by 100%
  • Reduction of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions by 100%
  • Reduction of soot emissions by 40-60%
  • Reduction of carbon monoxide (CO) emissions by 10-50%
  • Reduction of hydrocarbon (HC) emissions by 10-50%
  • Reduction of all polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and specifically the reduction of the following carcinogenic PAHs:
  • Reduction of phenanthren by 97%
  • Reduction of benzofloroanthen by 56%
  • Reduction of benzapyren by 71%
  • Reduction of aldehydes and aromatic compounds by 13%5.
  • Reduction or increase in nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions by 5-10% depending on the age and type of engine.

Biodiesel and Cold Weather Cold Filter Plugging and Gelling

When diesel fuel or biodiesel cools, wax crystals can form in the fuel.

The crystals can plug fuel filters and stop the flow of fuel to the engine.

Diesel fuel #2 can be used down to about -10 deg. F (-23 deg. C) and diesel fuel #1 (kerosene) can be used down to about -20 deg. F (-29 deg. C).

In contrast, biodiesel made from rapeseed can be used down to (-9 deg. C), biodiesel from soy can be used down to (-1 deg. C) and biodiesel from used cooking oil or animal fat can be used down to roughly between (9-12 deg. C).

Cold Weather Solutions

There are many ways to keep a diesel vehicle’s fuel system warm in winter. In fact, some diesel vehicles come stock with cold weather equipment. There are six different ways to keep a diesel vehicle’s fuel system from gelling in winter. The use of a block heater at night and a tank heater during the day has allowed biodiesel to be used in Yellowstone national park down to -40 deg. F.
The six methods for keeping a diesel fuel system operational in winter are:

  • An engine block heater to keep the engine warm at night. This helps with starting on cold mornings.
  • A fuel tank heater, which circulates coolant through a pipe in the fuel tank.
  • An electric element fuel line heater, which heats the fuel at one point.
  • A coolant-operated fuel heater, which uses hot coolant and a heat exchanger to heat a section of the fuel line.
  • An electric fuel line heater. This is like an electric blanket for the fuel line, which extends from the fuel tank to the fuel filter.
  • Winterizing agents and additives.

How to Run a Diesel Engine on Vegetable Oil 2: The Great Biodiesel Story

How to Make Your Own Biodiesel

The following recipe has been reproduced courtesy of Keith Addison

Anybody can make biodiesel.

It’s easy, you can make it in your kitchen — and it’s BETTER than the petro-diesel fuel the big oil companies sell you. Your diesel motor will run better and last longer on your home-made fuel, and it’s much cleaner — better for the environment and better for health. If you make it from used cooking oil it’s not only cheap but you’ll be recycling a troublesome waste product. Best of all is the GREAT feeling of freedom, independence and empowerment it will give you. Here’s how to do it — everything you need to know.

Three choices

There are at least three ways to run a diesel engine on bio-power, using vegetable oils, animal fats or both. All three work with both fresh and used oils.

  • Use the oil just as it is — usually called SVO fuel (straight vegetable oil);
  • Mix it with kerosene (paraffin) or diesel fuel, or with biodiesel;
  • Convert it to biodiesel.

The first two methods sound easiest, but, as so often in life, it’s not quite that simple.

1. Mixing it
If you’re mixing SVO with kerosene or petroleum diesel (“dinodiesel”) you’re still using fossil-fuel — cleaner than most, but still not clean enough, many would say. Still, for every gallon of vegetable oil you use, that’s one gallon of fossil-fuel saved, and that much less carbon in the atmosphere.

Most people use a mix of up to 30% kerosene and 70% vegetable oil, some use 50/50 mixes. Some people just use it that way, others say it needs at least pre-heating and probably a two-tank system too, like SVO (see below), and we agree with that. The same goes for mixes with vegetable oil and biodiesel — usually 50/50. In both cases, you might get away with just using it with an older Mercedes 5-cylinder IDI diesel, which is a very tough and tolerant motor. Otherwise, not wise.

So, to be safe, you’re going to need what amounts to an SVO two-tank system with heating anyway, so you don’t need the kerosene. If you’re mixing SVO with biodiesel, you’ll use very much less of it by using it in the second tank for start-ups and stops rather than mixing it 50/50. (See next.) Or just use 100% biodiesel and don’t bother with two tanks and heating. (See after next.)

Mixes are a poor compromise. But they do have advantages in cold weather. Some kerosene or #1 diesel mixed with biodiesel lowers the temperature at which it starts to gel, and a 50/50 mix with biodiesel will do the same for an SVO system.

Message to the Biofuel mailing list:

” I stuck 3 litres of pure rapeseed oil from my local supermarket straight into the tank of my 1998 VW Caddy van. There were about 3-4 litres of dino-diesel in the tank. Once the dino had cleared the fuel lines, I was running on about 50% dino to 50% oil. The only differences I noticed were: A) the engine ran about 10 deg C cooler; B) the exhaust smelt like a roadside burger bar. Apart from that, no problems! As the weather is finally starting to warm up here, I may increase the oil/diesel ratio and see that happens. — Nick”


” One thing that will happen is that your cold starts will begin to deteriorate. Then your filter will probably start plugging. Then your injectors will likely, in time, get coked up. Then the spray pattern will be wonky. Then you’ll set the stage for ring sticking, glazing of the cylinder walls, increased lube oil consumption and eventual engine failure — if you can continue to get the thing started in the morning. More than 20% or so in the diesel is not a good plan for more than short term ‘experiments’. Unfortunately, you’re not doing anything new here, Nick, and if it was as easy as running high percentages of SVO in diesel, and being able to maintain reliability, we’d all have gone that way long ago. Regards, Edward Beggs, Neoteric Biofuels Inc

A variation on this theme is adding a solvent to the veg oil to lower the viscosity — usually 3% white spirit (a.k.a. mineral turpentine, Stoddard solvent, turpentine substitute). This raised a lot of interest after it was publicized on a British TV program — “just add a spoonful”. It also raised a lot of scepticism: “‘experimental’ at best” was the view of experienced SVO’ers, and “steer well clear” unless you have a 5-cyl IDI Mercedes (in which case you don’t even need the white spirit). We agree. Work on blends of SVO with other solvents, such as butanol and ethanol, is still experimental.

2. Straight vegetable oil
With SVO you have to start the engine on ordinary petrodiesel or biodiesel to warm it up, then switch to the straight vegetable oil, and switch back to petro- or biodiesel before you stop the engine. If you don’t do that you’ll coke up the engine and the injectors. This means having two fuel tanks — no simple matter with diesels, which have airtight fuel systems. Using SVO also means pre-heating the oil or it’ll be too viscous (thick).

But there’s a lot to be said for straight vegetable oil systems — running on straight vegetable oil while starting up and shutting down on biodiesel can be a clean, effective and economical option.

3. Biodiesel
Biodiesel has some clear advantages over SVO: it works in any diesel, without any conversion or modifications to the engine or the fuel system — just put it in and go. It also has better cold-weather properties than SVO (but not as good as petro-diesel). And, unlike SVO, it’s backed by many long-term tests in many countries, including millions of miles on the road.

Biodiesel is a clean, safe, ready-to-use, alternative fuel, whereas it’s fair to say that SVO systems are still experimental and need further development.

On the other hand, biodiesel can be more expensive, depending what you make it from and whether you’re comparing it with new or used oil (and where you live). And, unlike SVO, it has to be processed — you have to make it. But the large and rapidly growing worldwide band of homebrewers don’t seem to mind — they make a supply every week or once a month and soon get used to it. Many have been doing it for years.

And anyway, you have to process SVO too, especially WVO (waste vegetable oil, used, cooked), which many people with SVO systems use because it’s cheap or free for the taking. WVO has to be filtered and dewatered, and probably should be deacidified, and SVO should probably also be deacidified.

Biodieselers say, “Well, if I’m going to have to do all that I might just as well make biodiesel instead.” But SVO types scoff at that — it’s much less processing than making biodiesel, they say. To each his own


  Needs processing Guaranteed trouble-free Engine conversion Cheaper (depending on country)
Biodiesel Yes Yes No Sometimes
SVO/WVO Less No Yes Usually


Costs and prices: Biodieselers using waste oil feedstock say they can make biodiesel for 60 cents US per gallon or less. Most people use about 600 gallons of fuel a year (about 10 gallons a week) — say US$360 a year. An SVO system costs from $300 to $1,200 or more. So with an SVO system you’ll be ahead in a year or two, which is not a long time in the life of a diesel motor. But will it last as long with SVO? Too soon to tell. Probably, if you use a good system. Recommendations, and much more, here.

Converting the oil to biodiesel is probably the best of the three options (or we think so anyway).

You could simply buy your biodiesel instead. Most major European vehicle manufacturers now provide vehicle warranties covering the use of pure biodiesel — though that might not be just any biodiesel. Some insist on “RME”, rapeseed methyl esters, and won’t cover soy biodiesel in the US, but this seems to be more a trade-related issue than a quality-control one. Germany has more than 1,500 filling stations supplying biodiesel, and it’s cheaper than ordinary diesel fuel. It’s widely used in France, the world’s largest producer. Virtually all fossil diesel fuel sold in France contains between 2% and 5% biodiesel. New EU laws will soon require this Europe-wide. Some states in the US are legislating similar requirements. There’s a growing number of US suppliers. Biodiesel is more expensive than ordinary diesel in the US but sales are rising very fast and prices will drop in time. In the UK biodiesel is to be taxed less than petrodiesel and it’s already available commercially.

But there’s a lot to be said for the GREAT feeling of independence you’ll get from making your own fuel (and it’s more than just a feeling — it’s real!).

If you want to make it yourself, there are several good recipes available for making high-quality biodiesel, and they all say what we also say: some of these chemicals are dangerous, take full safety precautions, and if you burn/maim/blind/kill yourself or anyone else, that will make us very sad, but not liable — we don’t recommend anything, it’s nobody’s responsibility but your own.

On the other hand, a lot of people are doing it — it’s safe enough if you’re careful and sensible. Learn as much as you can first — lots of information is available. Make small test batches before you try large batches. Make it with fresh oil before you try waste oil.


Wear proper protective gloves, apron, and eye protection and do not inhale any vapors. Methanol can cause blindness and death, and you don’t even have to drink it, it’s absorbed through the skin. Sodium hydroxide can cause severe burns and death. Together these two chemicals form sodium methoxide. This is an extremely caustic chemical. These are dangerous chemicals — treat them as such! Always have a hose running when working with them. The workspace must be thoroughly ventilated. No children or pets allowed. See Safety for further information.

Where do I start?

Start here: make a test batch of biodiesel using 1 litre of fresh new oil in a blender. If you don’t have a spare blender, either get one (you can pick them up quite cheap second-hand), or try this.

Go on, do it! Get some methanol, some lye and some new oil at the supermarket and go ahead — it’s a real thrill!
Here’s the recipe, just use 1 litre of oil instead of 10 litres, and 200 ml of methanol instead of 2 litres, with 3.5 grams of lye. Here’s how to use a blender, and here’s how to mix the sodium methoxide — “Methoxide the easy way”.

What’s next?

Learn. You have some decisions to make. It’s all quite simple really, thousands of people are doing it, very few of them are chemists or technicians, and there’s nothing a layman can’t understand, and do, and do it well. But there is quite a lot to learn. You should find everything you need to know right here. We’ve tried to make it easy for you.

First, here’s how we started.

The process

The process is called transesterification, which substitutes alcohol for the glycerine in a chemical reaction, using lye as a catalyst.Vegetable oils and animal fats are triglycerides, containing 7-13% glycerine. The biodiesel process turns the oils into esters, separating out the glycerine. The glycerine sinks to the bottom and the biodiesel floats on top and can be syphoned off.

We use methanol to make methyl esters. We’d rather use ethanol because most methanol comes from fossil fuels (though it can also be made from biomass, such as wood), while ethanol is plant-based and you can distill it yourself, but the biodiesel process is more complicated with ethanol. (See Ethyl esters.)

Ethanol also goes by various other names, such as whisky, vodka, gin, and so on, but methanol is a deadly poison: first it blinds you, then it kills you, and it doesn’t take much of it. It takes a couple of hours, and if you can get treatment fast enough you might survive.Methylated spirits (denatured alcohol) doesn’t work; isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) also doesn’t work.

The catalyst can be either sodium hydroxide (caustic soda, NaOH) or potassium hydroxide (KOH), which can provide a potash fertilizer as a by-product, but sodium hydroxide is easier to get and it’s cheaper. If you use potassium hydroxide, the process is the same, but you need to use 1.4 times as much. (See More about lye.)


Lye is dangerous — don’t get it on your skin or in your eyes, don’t breathe any fumes, keep the whole process away from food, and right away from children. Lye reacts with aluminum, tin and zinc. Use glass, enamel, stainless steel or HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) containers for methoxide.

Our first biodiesel

We got about 60 litres of used oil from Lantau Island’s local McDonald’s. There were four 16-litre cans of it, a mix of used cooking oil and residual beef and chicken fats. Two of the tins were solidified, the other two held a gloppy semi-liquid. We warmed it up a bit on the stove (to about 50 deg C) and filtered it through a fine mesh filter, and then again through coffee filter papers, but it was quite clean — very little food residue was left in the filters.

Biodiesel from new oil

It worked, but we’ve learnt a lot since then. Now it’s easy to make high-quality biodiesel every time without fail. And we don’t use open containers for processing now, and neither should you — and mix the methanol in closed containers too.

We had difficulty finding pure methanol in Hong Kong, and eventually paid the very high price of US$10 per litre for 5 litres from a wholesale chemical supply company. It has to be 99% pure (198 proof) or better.

We used 2 litres of methanol to 10 litres of vegetable oil, and 3.5 grams of pure, granular lye (sodium hydroxide) per litre of oil.

You can get lye at most hardware stores. Shake the container to check it hasn’t absorbed moisture and coagulated into a useless mass, and make sure to keep it airtight.

We had to be quick measuring out the 35 grams of lye required — summer humidity in Hong Kong is usually about 80% at 30 deg C or more, and the lye rapidly got wet, making it less effective.

We mixed the lye with the 2 litres of methanol in a strong, heatproof glass bottle with a narrow neck to prevent splashing. It fumed and got hot, and took about 15 minutes to mix. (Use closed containers for mixing methoxide.)

This mixture is sodium methoxide, an extremely powerful base which enjoys eating stuff like human flesh — take full safety precautions when working with sodium methoxide, have a source of running water handy.

Meanwhile we’d warmed the 10 litres of new oil in a steel bucket on the stove to about 40 deg C (104 deg F) to thin it so it mixed better. In fact, 55 deg C (131 deg F) is a better processing temperature. Don’t let it get too hot or the methanol will evaporate. (Methanol boils at 64.7 deg C, 148.5 deg F.)

We’d made a wooden jig with a portable vice clamped to it holding a power drill fitted with a paint mixer to stir the contents of the bucket. This did a good job without splashing.

Stirring well, we carefully added the sodium methoxide to the oil. The reaction started immediately, the mixture rapidly separating into a clear, golden liquid on top with the light brown glycerine settling out at the bottom. We kept stirring for an hour, keeping the temperature constant. Then we let it settle overnight.

The next day we syphoned off 10 litres of biodiesel, leaving two litres of glycerine in the bottom of the bucket.

Biodiesel from waste oil

This is more appealing than using new oil, but it’s also more difficult.

First, get rid of the water content. Used oil usually has some water in it, and water in the oil will interfere with the lye, especially if you use too much lye, and you’ll end up with a bucket of jelly.

Here’s another way, from Aleks Kac — it uses less energy and doesn’t risk forming more Free Fatty Acids (see below) by overheating. Heat the oil to 60 deg C (140 deg F), maintain the temperature for 15 minutes and then pour the oil into a settling tank. Let it settle for at least 24 hours. Make sure you never empty the settling vessel more than 90%.

Waste oil needs more catalyst than new oil to neutralize the Free Fatty Acids (FFAs) formed in cooking the oil, which interfere with the transesterification process.

You have to titrate the oil to determine the FFA content and how much lye will be required to neutralize it. This means determining the pH — the acid-alkaline level (pH7 is neutral, lower values are increasingly acidic, higher than 7 is alkaline). An electronic pH meter is best, but you can also use pH test strips (or litmus paper), or phenolphthalein solution (from a chemicals supplier).

We also thought of using red cabbage juice, which changes from red in a strong acid, to pink, purple, blue, and finally green in a strong alkali. We didn’t have a pH meter then so we used phenolphthalein solution. Phenolphthalein is colorless up to pH 8.3, then it turns pink (or rather magenta), and red at pH 10.4.

Dissolve 1 gm of lye in 1 litre of distilled water (0.1% lye solution). In a smaller beaker, dissolve 1 ml of the cooled oil in 10 ml of pure isopropyl alcohol. Warm the beaker gently by standing it in some hot water, stir until all the oil dissolves in the alcohol and turns clear. Add 2 drops of phenolphthalein solution.

Using a graduated syringe, add 0.1% lye solution drop by drop to the oil-alcohol-phenolphthalein solution, stirring all the time, until the solution stays pink for 10 seconds. Take the number of millilitres of 0.1% lye solution you used and add 3.5. This is the number of grams of lye you’ll need per litre of oil.

Our first titration took 6 ml (not very good oil), so we used 6 + 3.5 = 9.5 grams of lye per litre of oil: 95 grams for 10 litres.

Then proceed as with new oil: measure out the lye and mix it with the methanol to make sodium methoxide — it will get even hotter and take longer to mix, as there’s more lye this time. Make sure the lye is completely dissolved in the methanol.

Carefully add the sodium methoxide to the warmed oil while stirring, and mix for an hour. Settle overnight, then syphon off the biodiesel.

The first five times we did this, using 10 litres of waste oil each time, we got biodiesel (a bit darker than the new oil product) and glycerine three times, and twice we got jelly. The answer is to be more careful with the titration: do it twice, just to be sure. Read on, and you’ll learn how to make high-quality biodiesel every time, without fail.

The production rate was less than with new oil, ending with 8-9 litres of biodiesel instead of 10. The acid-base Foolproof method, developed since, will get much higher production rates with heavily-used oil.


Biodiesel should be washed to remove soap, catalyst and other impurities. Some people insist on it, others don’t and argue that the small amounts of impurities cause no engine damage.

We recommend washing it. In fact we insist on it — good-quality biodiesel must be washed.

Using biodiesel

You don’t have to convert the engine to run it on biodiesel, but you do need to make some adjustments and check a few things.

Retard the injection timing by 2-3 degrees — this overcomes the effect of biodiesel’s higher cetane number. It also causes the fuel to burn cooler, thus reducing NOx emissions.

Petro-diesel leaves a lot of dirt in the tank and the fuel system. Biodiesel is a good solvent — it tends to free the dirt and clean it out. Be sure to check the fuel filters regularly at first. Start off with a new fuel filter.

Check there are no natural rubber parts in the fuel system. If there are, replace them. Viton is best. See “Durability of Various Plastics”.


Wear proper protective gloves, apron, and eye protection and do not inhale any vapors. Methanol can cause blindness and death, and you don’t even have to drink it, it’s absorbed through the skin. Sodium hydroxide can cause severe burns and death. Together these two chemicals form sodium methoxide. This is an extremely caustic chemical. These are dangerous chemicals — treat them as such! Gloves should be chemical-proof with cuffs that can be pulled up over long sleeves — no shorts or sandals. Always have a hose running when working with them. The workspace must be thoroughly ventilated. No children or pets allowed.

Organic vapor cartridge respirators are more or less useless against methanol vapors. Professional advice is not to use organic vapor cartridges for longer than a few hours maximum, or not to use them at all. Only a supplied-air system will do.

The best advice is not to expose yourself to the fumes in the first place. The main danger is when the methanol is hot — when it’s cold or at “room temperature” it fumes very little, and this is easily avoided. All methanol containers should be kept tightly closed anyway to prevent water absorption from the air.

We transfer methanol from its container to the methoxide mixing container by pumping it, with no exposure at all. This is easily arranged, and an ordinary aquarium air-pump will do (the same one you use for washing the biodiesel). The methoxide is mixed like this — Methoxide the easy way, which also happens to be the safe way. The mixture gets hot at first, but the container is kept closed and no fumes escape. When mixed, the methoxide is again pumped into the (closed) biodiesel processor with the aquarium air-pump — there’s no exposure to fumes, and it’s added slowly, which is optimal for the process and also for safety.

How to Run a Diesel Engine on Vegetable Oil 1: The Great Biodiesel Story

In 2002 Britain was brought to a standstill by the fuel blockades – they didn’t work!

Now, there is a real answer to exorbitant fuel taxation available anywhere in the world; a soloution that can be ‘knocked up’ in your garden workshop…

Bio Diesel!!!



It is perfectly possible to run your diesel engine on vegetable oil!

In some areas Supermarkets have rationed their supply of vegoil because so many people have cottoned onto this motoring loophole!

Autoinfozone have revealed this amazing substitute to thousands. BUT it must be stressed that throwing pure vegoil in your tank can cause problems – our recipe turns vegoil into Biodiesel!

Does The Cost of Fuel Make Your Blood Boil?

It should do!

The graphics below explain the costs that make up the price of a litre of unleaded at £132.9p and a litre of diesel at £137.9p so you can see who’s getting the biggest slice of the petrol pie:


Fuel Duty

In the UK we apply a fuel duty which is essentially an additional tax that is added to the price of petrol before it is sold. This duty extends to all Hydrocarbon fuels such as petrol, diesel, biodiesel and LPG’s that are sold for use in cars and makes up a significant proportion of the price we pay for fuel.

As this duty is applied to the price of fuel before VAT, any change to the level of duty will also have an affect on the amount of VAT you pay. When the government announced it’s budget this year (March 2011) the rate of fuel duty was reduced by 1p to try and stabilise the price of fuel which is 5p less than it would have been with inflation plus the planned 1p rise. To compensate for the reduced duty rate the government has increased the tax for oil companies by up to as much as 32%.


The second largest portion of the cost of fuel goes to the companies who supply the crude oil and those who refine it into fuel products like petrol and diesel. Incidentally the cost of refining diesel is substantially higher than that of petrol which, along with VAT makes the price you pay for diesel higher.


The petrol you buy at the pumps is subject to VAT which is another addition to the cost of all consumer fuels. The introduction of a new VAT rate of 20% at the start of 2011 saw the price of petrol rise further still.


If you always thought the high prices you pay at the pumps were down to the high markup added on by the greedy petrol stations you might be surprised to learn that in fact the retailers’ slice of the price of petrol is the smallest of all.

The reason for their low percentage because there is little room for margins as the price of fuel is already so expensive before it reaches the retailer. The competitive nature of the petrol stations to have the lowest price is also an important factor in the money they make from the price of a litre.

This is what made ordinary motorists livid and caused an unprecidented protest. The blockades were organised through – we have now taken over that role and intend to make a real difference this time!!! has now been incorporated into Autoinfozone and will be the focal point of a renewed effort to help the crippled motorists, farmers, hauliers…

We will be posting regular updates and news about our Amazing Loopholes in the hope YOU can take advantage of them.

Prime Minister Tony Blair defended his actions in 2002 by refusing to cut fuel taxes during the week of petrol price blockades that brought the country to a standstill.

‘We cannot; we will not be forced into a change of policy,’ he told a news conference in London.

He said giving in to the protesters, ‘would not just have been irresponsible but the impact on the country’s economic credibility would have been immediate and catastrophic.’

Well we have an answer to Mr Tony Blair and leaders of all countries that over tax the soft target… an answer super-expensive fuel prices.

Bio Diesel!!!

Although Autoinfozone have revealed this amazing substitute to thousands it must be stressed that throwing pure vegoil in your tank can cause problems – our recipe turns vegoil into Biodiesel!

Basics about Diesel Injection and Vegoil

In contrast to diesel fuel, vegetable oil comes with a higher viscosity than mineral diesel fuel. This results in problems with the injectors and sometimes even with the injector pump itself. The spray pattern of an injector becomes no more than just a dripping of fuel or a single stream when the vegoil is at room temperature (20C).

The injector pump needs more power to get the fuel pressed through the injector pipes which causes a higher torque on the drive belt or the drive chain. A broken timing belt or chain will cause a severe engine damage.

In order to use vegoil as a diesel substitute, one must try to lower it’s viscosity down to diesel fuel level.


has been widley tested and has proven to work – the viscosity of the vegoil is reduced to ensure a clean burn and the glycerin appears to be burnt off as a waste product.

Read all about it in ‘How to Run a Diesel Engine on Vegoil:

Download BioDiesel Factsheets Here

Biofuels, such as ethanol made from corn and biodiesel made from soybeans, help support American agriculture.

First Retail Biodiesel Pump in Denver Area Opens: Trucking fleets, school districts and diesel vehicle owners in the metro Denver area now have a convenient local source of biodiesel. Blue Sun Biodiesel and Shoco Oil, Inc., held the grand opening of Denver’s first retail biodiesel fueling station on Friday, November 14 at Shoco Oil, 5135 E. 74th Avenue in Commerce City.

How Does It Compare?

With all of these rules and regulations in place, it’s understandable that any viable petroleum alternative would cause a clamor. With that in mind, the most obvious question still remains: Does biodiesel work? In this section, we’ll weigh in the advantages and disadvantages of biodiesel.

The Pros
Biodiesel has several key advantages:

  • Biodiesel is environmentally friendly.
  • It can help reduce dependency on foreign oil.
  • It helps to lubricate the engine itself, decreasing engine wear.
  • It can be used in almost any diesel with little or no engine modification.It is safer than conventional diesel.
  • One of the major selling points of biodiesel is that is environmentally friendly. Biodiesel has fewer emissions than standard diesel, is biodegradable, and is a renewable source of energy.
  • Emissions control is central to the biodiesel argument, especially in legislation matters. There are a few components of emissions that are especially harmful and cause concern among scientists, lawmakers, and consumers. Sulfur and its related compounds contribute to the formation of acid rain; carbon monoxide is a widely recognized toxin; and carbon dioxide contributes to the greenhouse effect. There are also some lesser known compounds that cause concern, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), ring-shaped compounds that have been linked to the formation of certain types of cancer. Particulate matter (PM) has negative health effects, and unburned hydrocarbons contribute to the formation of smog and ozone.

Biodiesel does reduce hazardous emissions. Of the current biofuels, biodiesel is the only one to have successfully completed emissions testing in accordance with the Clean Air Act.


      Average        Biodiesel Emissions Compared to Conventional Diesel    
Emission Component B100 B20
Total Unburned Hydrocarbons -67% -20%
Carbon Monoxide -48% -12%
Particulate Matter -47% -12%
NOx +10% +2%
Sulfates -100% -20%
PAH -80% -13%
      Source: National Biodiesel        Board    

In addition, B100 can reduce CO2 emissions by 78% and lower the carcinogenic properties of diesel fuel by 94% (National Biodiesel Board, U.S. DOE Office of Transportation Technologies).

Another feature of biodiesel is that it is biodegradable, meaning that it can decompose as the result of natural agents such as bacteria. According to the EPA, biodiesel degrades at a rate four times faster than conventional diesel fuel. This way, in the event of a spill, the cleanup would be easier and the aftermath would not be as frightening. This would also hold true for biodiesel blends.

Biodiesel could also lower U.S. dependence on imported oil and increase our energy security. Most biodiesel in the U.S. is made from soybean oil, which is a major domestic crop. With U.S. petroleum demands increasing and world supply decreasing, a renewable fuel such as biodiesel, if properly implemented, could alleviate some of the U.S. energy demands. For more information on U.S. energy security, check out Biofuels and U.S. Energy Security.

Biodiesel also contributes to an engine’s lubricity, or its ease of movement. Biodiesel acts as a solvent, which helps to loosen deposits and other gunk from the insides of an engine that could potentially cause clogs. Since pure biodiesel leaves no deposits of its own, this results in increased engine life. It is estimated that a biodiesel blend of just 1% could increase fuel lubricity by as much as 65% (U.S. DOE Office of Transportation Technology).

Biodiesel is also safer. It is non-toxic (about 10 times less toxic than table salt) and has a higher flashpoint than conventional diesel. Because it burns at a higher temperature, it is less likely to accidentally combust. This makes movement and storage regulations easier to accommodate.

The Cons
Of course, nothing is without penalty, and biodiesel does have its drawbacks. Some have to do with the fuel itself, and many have to do with the bigger picture.

One of the problems with the fuel itself is the increase in NOx in biodiesel emissions. Often, in diesel fuel manufacturing, when you decrease the amount of particulate matter in the emissions, there is a corresponding increase in nitrogen oxides, which contribute to smog formation. Though some of this can be addressed by adjusting the engine itself, that’s not always feasible. There are technologies being researched to reduce NOx amounts in biodiesel emissions.

Another problem is biodiesel’s behavior as a solvent. Though this property is helpful, it’s kind of a double-edged sword. Some older diesel vehicles (such as cars made before 1992) may experience clogging with higher concentrations of biodiesel. Because of its ability to loosen deposits built up in the engine (which may be there from old diesel fuel), biodiesel can cause the fuel filter to become jammed with the newly freed deposits. Biodiesel manufacturers suggest changing the fuel pump shortly after switching to high-concentration biodiesel blends. Components within these older fuel systems may also become degraded. In addition to deposits within the fuel system, biodiesel also breaks down rubber components. Some parts in the older systems, such as fuel lines and fuel pump seals, may become broken down due to their rubber or rubber-like composition. This is usually remedied by replacing such components. Though many manufacturers have included biodiesel in their warranties, potential for problems could still exist. For more information on biodiesel and vehicle warranties, check out The Biodiesel Standard.

Also, in some engines, there can be slight decrease in fuel economy and power. On average, there is about a 10% reduction in power. In other words, it takes about 1.1 gallons of biodiesel to equal 1 gallon of standard diesel.

The major drawbacks to biodiesel are connected to the bigger picture, namely the market and associated logistics. Of these, the most important is cost. According to the EPA, pure biodiesel (B100) can cost anywhere from $1.95 to $3.00 per gallon, while B20 blends average about 30 to 40 cents more per gallon than standard diesel. This all depends on variables such as the feedstock used and market conditions.

The other, perhaps more important issue is that of amount and availability. Though biodiesel isn’t necessarily produced in all 50 states, it can be made available in all of them. There are three major ways to get biodiesel, with each particular method better suited for certain types of customers. Biodiesel can be purchased directly from the supplier, from a petroleum distributor, or from public pumps. There are currently 19 NBB-members producing and marketing biodiesel in the United States. To find out how to get biodiesel, contact the National Biodiesel Board. Also, the Alternative Fuels Data Center has a search feature that allows you to locate refueling stations by city or state.

For information on locating biodiesel stations outside of the U.S., contact your local biofuels agency.

So how much do we make?

Given the number of different producers (i.e., federal, private, industrial) and crop sources, it’s hard to attach a neat figure. Right now, the U.S. produces approximately 20 million gallons (76 million liters) of biodiesel per year (U.S. DOE Office of Transportation Technology). This production is flexible, and can be increased or decreased as needed. This amount could increase to an estimated 50 to 80 million gallons (190 to 300 million liters) per year, depending on resources and encouragement. With certain incentive programs activated, the Department of Energy estimates that there are only enough feedstock crops now to produce 1.9 billion gallons (7.2 billion liters) of biodiesel. In the future, potential demand could hit 2 billion gallons per year. There are programs in place to address some of this projected demand. For example, one Department of Energy program is researching a biodiesel made from spicy mustard seed. According to the DOE’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, this could potentially add another 5 to 10 billion gallons (19 to 38 billion liters) of biodiesel to the supply.

Make Your Own!

Biodiesel is safe and can be used in diesel engines with little or no modification needed. Although biodiesel can be used in its pure form, it usually blended with standard diesel fuel. Blends are indicated by the abbreviation Bxx, where xx is the percentage of biodiesel in the mixture. For example, the most common blend is B20, or 20% biodiesel to 80% standard. So, B100 refers to pure biodiesel.

Biodiesel isn’t just a catch-all term, however. There is also a formal, technical definition that is recognized by ASTM International (known formerly as the American Society for Testing and Materials), the organization responsible for providing industry standards. According to the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), the technical definition of biodiesel is as follows:

a fuel comprised of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats, designated B100, and meeting the requirements of ASTM D 6751

Biodiesel is a fuel made from vegetable oil that runs in any unmodified diesel engine.

It can be made from any vegetable oil including oils pressed straight from the seed (virgin oils) such as soy, sunflower, canola, coconut and hemp.

Biodiesel can also be made from recycled cooking oils from fast food restaurants. Even animal fats like beef tallow and fish oil can be used to make biodiesel fuel. While biodiesel may sound like something from the movie “Back to the Future,” its use dates back over 100 years to the invention of the diesel engine.

Dr. Diesel’s Invention

Dr. Rudolf DieselDr. Rudolf Diesel actually invented the diesel engine to run on a myriad of fuels including coal dust suspended in water, heavy mineral oil, and, you guessed it, vegetable oil. Dr. Diesel’s first engine experiments were catastrophic failures.

But by the time he showed his engine at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900, his engine was running on 100% peanut oil. Dr. Diesel was visionary.

In 1911 he stated “The diesel engine can be fed with vegetable oils and would help considerably in the development of agriculture of the countries which use it.” In 1912, Diesel said, “The use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today. But such oils may become in course of time as important as petroleum and the coal tar products of the present time.”

Since Dr. Diesel’s untimely death in 1913, his engine has been modified to run on the polluting petroleum fuel we now know as “diesel.” Nevertheless, his ideas on agriculture and his invention provide the foundation for a society fueled with clean, renewable, locally grown fuel.

Biodiesel runs in any unmodified diesel engine. There is no “engine conversion” typical of other alternative fuels.

The diesel engine can run on biodiesel because it operates on the principle of compression ignition whereby air is compressed and then fuel is sprayed into the ultra-hot, ultra-pressured combustion chamber. Unlike gasoline engines, which use a spark to ignite the fuel/air mixture, diesel engines actually use fuel to ignite hot air.

This simple process allows the diesel engine to run on thick fuels. Since biodiesel is chemically similar to petroleum diesel fuel, you can pour biodiesel right into the fuel tank of any diesel vehicle. Biodiesel has many advantages as a transport fuel. Biodiesel has lower emissions, it is made domestically (which increases national security), it does not affect engine performance and biodiesel is produced from plants. Since plants are a product of solar energy, biodiesel is “liquid

Make Biodiesel

The process of converting vegetable oil into biodiesel fuel is called transesterification and is luckily less complex than it sounds.

Chemically, transesterification means taking a triglyceride molecule, or a complex fatty acid, neutralizing the free fatty acids, removing the glycerin, and creating an alcohol ester.

This is accomplished by mixing methanol (wood alcohol) with lye (sodium hydroxide) to make sodium methoxide. This dangerous liquid is then mixed into vegetable oil. The entire mixture then settles.

Glycerin is left on the bottom and methyl esters, or biodiesel, is left on top. The glycerin can be used to make soap (or any one of 1,600 other products) and the methyl esters is washed and filtered. The resulting biodiesel fuel when used directly in a Diesel engine will burn up to 75% cleaner than petroleum diesel fuel.

Transesterification was conducted as early as 1853. One of the first uses of biodiesel (transesterified vegetable oil) was powering heavy vehicles in South Africa before World War II.

Why make biodiesel?

Vegetable is a much more dense substance than diesel but biodiesel is very similar to diesel fuel.

Biodiesel benefits from a viscosity that is twice that of diesel fuel and a molecular weight is roughly 1/3 of vegetable oil. Most Diesel engines were designed to use highly lubricating, high sulfur content fuel. Recent environmental legislature has forced diesel fuel to contain only a minimum amount of sulfur for lubricating purposes.

Thus, the high viscosity of biodiesel makes it a perfect fuel of choice for diesel engines.

Basics about using pure Vegoil

Although Autoinfozone have revealed this amazing substitute to thousands it must be stressed that throwing pure vegoil in your tank can cause problems – our recipe turns vegoil into Biodiesel!

Basics about Diesel Injection and Vegoil

In contrast to diesel fuel, vegetable oil comes with a higher viscosity than mineral diesel fuel. This results in problems with the injectors and sometimes even with the injector pump itself. The spray pattern of an injector becomes no more than just a dripping of fuel or a single stream when the vegoil is at room temperature (20C).

The injector pump needs more power to get the fuel pressed through the injector pipes which causes a higher torque on the drivebelt or the drivechain. A broken timingbelt or chain will cause a severe engine damage.

In order to use vegoil as a diesel substitute, one must try to lower it’s viscosity down to diesel fuel level.

How to lower oil viscosity

Vegetable oil can simply be made more fluent by heating it up to about 70-90ÁC. This has turned out to be the best temperature.

There are ways to do this in a car but they are complicated and require some alterations.

In tests it has been found that ‘used’ vegetable oil has a slightly changed chemistry similar to that of manufactured Biodiesel that has been through a refinery process called transesterification. This process is a reaction of the oil with an alcohol to remove the glycerin.

A group of chemistry students in America looked into this developed their version of biodiesel which was widely reported.

Each week the students picked up 25 gallons of spent cooking oil from a local restaurant, The Chippery.

By giving its oil to the students, the restaurant saved the $35/pickup fee charged by a rendering company.

The team used their reactor to convert the oil to Biodiesel by adding lye and methanol, generating only one byproduct glycerin, commonly used as soap.

Oregon State University Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering department fuelled a VW with a clean-burning, “green” fuel substitute the students manufactured from used cooking oil. With guidance from IME faculty members, the team designed a manufacturing process that converts spent deep fryer oil from a local restaurant into Biodiesel.

With time they fine tuned the process to produce a form of Biodiesel pure enough to pour into a fuel tank. All their hard work paid off; the group’s Biodiesel powered the VW to the Oregon coast and back.

The cost of fuel for the 150-mile trip? Not a nickel.

Side benefit? The dark plumes of sooty diesel exhaust were replaced with the invisible and faint aroma of French fries!

But the students didn’t stop there. They have fine-tuned the process so that their Biodiesel can be certified to American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.

Many automobile and farm equipment manufacturers, including Volkswagen, John Deere, Audi, Caterpillar, BMW, Volvo, and others, now warrant their vehicles for use with biodiesel. The fuel has been tested widely by government and private industry with no negative side effects. Biodiesel has a higher lubricity than petroleum diesel, which can reduce engine wear.


It must be stressed that the following recipe has been widley tested and has proven to work. It was first shown on BBCs Top Gear. The viscosity of the vegoil is reduced to ensure a clean burn and the glycerin appears to be burnt off as a waste product. But for the record Autoinfozone, it’s employees or associates accept no responsibility whatsoever for it’s use (we have to put that in just incase some fool tries to sue us because their 20 year old banger breaks down – not because of the Biodiesiel but because its an nail!)

As we’ve explained you need used vegetable oil. Now you can get it from local restaurants or heat it up to cooking temperatures and let it cool.

If using used oil it will need to be strained through a fine filter to remove any crispy fried fish bits!

Next step is to add a solvent to bring down the viscosity.

White spirit is the best, easily available product and preferably non-Kerosene based (for tax purposes).

To make 1 litre of Biodiesel add 3mls of spirit to 97mls of used vegoil and leave to stand for up to a week…that’s it!

And it’s far better for the environment than the expensive and soon to be redundant counterpart – diesel!

More refined Biodiesel can be bought from manufacturers. A good source of information can be found at or type in biodiesel into Google.



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