A New Alternative

The diesel industry is headed for change – an alternative for the fuel has been found. Now, biodiesel in the form of vegetable oil is gaining its popularity. The fuel is easily accessible and cheap as it can be homemade given that one has the right “ingredient” and is careful. Here is the “recipe”:

1. Filter out the food and the water from the oil using a mesh screen

2. Warm up the oil and add sodium hydroxide and methanol (the sodium hydroxide) breaks up the oil molecules into fatty acids and glycerol, and the methanol reacts with the fatty acids to form esters.

3. Drain the glycerol away.

4. Wash the remaining substance with water to remove any impurities and extra sodium hydroxide.

5. Drain the water away.

6. Aerate the remaining substance with an aquarium bubbler to remove the moisture.

The manufacturing cost of this biodiesel is a fraction of the price of petrol at US$44 for 175 litres, and this is enough to drive a pickup truck for 1,200 kilometres! However, despite the low cost of production, the price at which the biodiesel is high – and although environmentally friendly people are willing to pay the cost, this alternative biodiesel costs 30% more than petroleum-based diesel.

However, this may also change! With the device to make their own motoring equipment of this biodiesel bought from Oilybits, a person is able to produce batches of 120 litres of biodiesel! What’s more, this fuel is free of tax if a person manufactures less than 2,500 litres a year. There is another astonishingly fact that can be said about this diesel. Even if there was a lower cap on how much biodiesel a person could produce, there would be another solution to the problem. These people could modify their engines slightly to use raw, untreated vegetable oils to drive their cars. The most common way of doing this is to fit the vehicle with two fuel tanks, one filled with petroleum-based diesel until the radiator gets heated up. Here, water is channeled from the radiator to the tank with the vegetable oil. Then, the driver can start burning the vegetable oil when the solution gets more watery.

In the modern world with well-developed technology, we can slowly start finding alternatives such as this waste vegetable oil to replace the commonly seen fuels. Despite this, nobody would start using this new technology if it is not promoted or is too expensive. Make a wise choice – choose the environment-friendly diesel over the conventional fuel!

Information from: The Economist: “The fat of the land”

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Hi guys, I'm a student in Singapore, and this are some thoughts and essays I have written over the years.