Homebrew biodiesel in Colorado: Just another guy who no longer goes to the pump

There’s something about homebrewing biodiesel that meshes real well with the American myth of self-reliance. Instead of giving one of the major oil companies 30 bucks a week, you can go pick up waste oil, a barrel of methanol and a few other chemicals and make your own. Jeffrey Orrey, the subject of this article in Boulder’s Daily Camera, enjoys making his own biodiesel for about 70 cents a gallon, he says, and he hasn't been to a gas station in two months.

I can see the meme of self-reliant Americans making fuel their own darn selves becoming a powerful concept in the media. After all, if “energy independence” is already a big topic, then isn’t taking that to an incredibly local level grist for small media outlets? Granted, making biodiesel at home is not really energy independent or self-reliant (the Appleseed reactor needs electricity, and the methanol and waste oil has to come from somewhere), but memes have a way of gaining traction, even if they’re not necessarily 100 percent accurate. The Daily Camera article also has an MP3 interview with Orrey about biodiesel.

[Source: Daily Camera, photo from Denver Biodiesel and is not of Orrey's processor, thanks to Joel A.]

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