For those of us looking for oil alternatives, especially for fuel, there may be an option in an unlikely place...McDonald's.
That's right - apparently you can convert a diesel engine to run solely on recycled vegetable oil after it's spent its first life in the fryer. For a country that tends to go through quite a lot of deep-fryer oil (*cough* sat fat addiction *cough*), this could actually be a somewhat positive way to use the countless gallons of leftover oil that would normally just be discarded. In an interesting article on NBC, the owner of four McDonald's, Robert Tomey, details how he converted two vehicles to run on the used fast-food chain's leftover vegetable oil. Tomey converted both a Volkswagen Beetle (license plate FRYBRID) and a company car (a Ford pickup) to run on the fry oil and now says that he's spending $0 on fuel instead of the usual $350/week on diesel.
|Chris Wilson /|
Between his four McDonald's, Tomey estimates that he throws away 10,000 gallons of used vegetable oil a year, and envisions a future where his oil could be used for fuel on a larger scale than just his two cars. People interested in converting their own cars can purchase a converter kit from Greasecar, with Tomey estimating that his kits will pay for themselves from the saved fuel costs within about eight months.
But more than just economically, the Greasecar setup has other benefits as well. In addition to reducing our dependence on overseas oil, it also has environmental benefits of reducing our need to harvest more oil with all of the ecological ramifications involved there. It turns out that used vegetable oil counts as an "oil alternative," so to speak.