An Introduction to Making Your Own Biodiesel

My living room is a mess. If we ignore the stacks of stuff that belongs to me (magazines and DVDs, mostly), the mess is due to my roommate’s almost-finished “appleseed biodiesel processor”. Appleseed processors, built using old water heaters, turn used vegetable oil into biodiesel and are safe enough to build in the back yard or, well, living room. My roommate got the blueprints in the excellent Biodiesel Homebrew Guide, a complete how-to book on making your own fuel. Watching and helping my roommate, it’s clear that author Maria “Girl Mark” Alovert takes the biofuel concept of self-sufficiency to new heights. All you really need is the book, a few hundred dollars worth of parts and a supply of used food oil. Volatile gas prices (which are somehow always on the rise and may top $3 a gallon this year again), mean knowing how to make your own biodiesel is rapidly becoming an economic no-brainer.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be detailing how my roommate has turned Alovert’s words into an actual processor. He’s been having a lot of fun with this weekend project (which has taken many weekends and trips to hardware stores) and I’ve had a good time helping him. If you’ve built your own biodiesel processor or have specific questions, post them in the comments.

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