What is biodiesel?

When Rudolph Diesel invented the diesel engine that bears his name he invented it to run on peanut oil. It is vegetable oil that the diesel was designed to burn.

Of course,Rudolph's time was :"way back when" and the engine bearing his name has changed a great deal but the fact remains that vegetable oil will still successfully power some diesel engines.

Vegetable oil on its own is a bit thick however, and can be problematic in a modern diesel engine. The molecule that makes veggie oil thick is glycerin and it is the removal of this molecule from vegetable oil that makes vegetable oil into biodiesel. This process is easy and well within the realms of the home fuel brewer. 

Just about any vegetable oil will do, I use second hand oil given to me for free by the local pub. The process of removing the glycerin molecule (called transesterification) not only removes the glycerin which makes the oil thick, it cleans the oil beautifully and my Mitsubishi van loves it!

sample jar of biodiesel

Above is a small quantity of biodiesel sitting on top of the glycerin. This photo was taken not long after the process of transesterification and shows the glycerin and cooking contaminants from the cooking oil sitting on the bottom of the sample. This is the black stuff. On top is biodiesel almost ready to power a diesel engine.

What can you run on biodiesel?

Biodiesel is best suited to diesel engines with mechanical fuel pumps like older cars, trucks, tractors, generators etc.

Biodiesel is suited to any modern diesel engine manufactured specifically to run on biodiesel. Unfortunately many modern common rail turbocharged diesel engines aren't suited to this fuel. Some however are approved for a blend of biodiesel and normal diesel fuel. consult the owners handbook first!

Mitsubishi van which has covered over 130,000 miles on home made bio diesel

My Mitsubishi van which has covered over 130,000 miles on home made bio diesel.

Lister direct charging plant well suited to biodiesel

A vintage Lister diesel engine that produces power for home solar. This engine runs on biodiesel really well.

Buy the book as an instant download PDF

Cover of book Simple Biodiesel

Simple Biodiesel PDF

In This Book Learn About:-

  • Make biodiesel at home step by step
  • Start an oil collection service
  • Make a mixing plant with readily available materials
  • Perform simple tests to ready yourself for full production
  • Test and filter your fuel for use on the road
  • Simple Biodiesel, ISBN: 978-0-9581100-3-7

    80 pages with color and black and white images and drawings, this book details making biodiesel at home using recycled vegetable oil from cooking

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