I had been driving to school every day, looking at the fields, thinking that if you couldn’t grow corn this year, you shouldn’t be a farmer. I remembered seeing something about heating with shelled corn somewhere and decided to do a Google search. I found a deal not far away and decided that since the last time I bought propane it was $2.00 per gallon and I had friends that grew corn, it would be worth it. I have it set up in the yard and it’s been burning for 2 hours now. I can buy shelled corn for $6.00 per hundred pounds today and corn future don’t look promising for the farmer but what else is new.
I will now address the posts of all of the smart asses that saw fit to respond:
Tentacle Monster : A bushel of corn is 56 pounds. Going price for corn is $4.00/bushel right now. Do the math. Some people charge eight cents or even ten cents per pound in this area. To buy it at six cents a pound I will probably have to take my own container.
Sunspace : It is indeed food. It is typically animal fodder and farmers have trouble selling it at a break-even price.
Ethilrist : That would be called shipping expense. It is incurred one time and by going to get the stove rather than hire a carrier it was very cost-effective and by burnig vegetable oil as fuel it was real cost effective. Also, corn is readily available within a distance I can walk. It will beat the cost of propane very shortly.
And finally Larry Mudd : I absolutely, positively had to see it work as soon as I got home. The AC at home is running full time during the day and I need to knock a hole in the wall for venting.
Yes, I use cooking oil from a resturant for fuel. McDonalds uses their oil too much and it gets contaminants. The resturant that I get oil from uses their oil on Fridays and Saturdays when they are open. They change oil on Saturday night. I let the oil settle and seperate for a few weeks and run it through filters before I actually use it as fuel.
Any vehicle that runs on diesel can be modified to run on vegetable oil. Not as well, vegetable is more viscous, but it will go. The performance I’m getting is improving, I’ve only been using vegetable oil for two weeks.
I started the veg-oil truck project because it would be a cool thing to do. Everyone including the resturant owner thinks the project is cool. I have made it work, now I will make it better. For now, I don’t have 500 miles running on vegetable oil. I will probably settle for a blend with pure diesel to add to performance. A mason jar with 50% diesel and 50% vegetable oil hasn’t seperated visibly in 2 weeks. I’m going to try a mix with 30% diesel.
Concerning my original post, the corn heater burned for ten hours today and used about 35 pounds of corn. There was less than 8 ounces of ash to remove at the end of the day.
The oil I use smells like chicken frying when it burns. Chicken was fried in it in its previous life.
It may very well. I haven’t had much low temperature since I began collecting oil in March. My truck now has a secondary tank for vegetable oil, I am installing a resistance heater on it, and there is a buzzer that goes off if I forget to switch back to pure diesel oil and purge the system before I shut the truck off.
I’m truly sorry to hear that, the weather is usually like that here in the summer. I’ve seen crops burn year after year. I frequently thank the Powers That Be in the Universe that my Father was not a farmer.
So you’re making your own bio-diesel? That’s pretty cool. The only thing I know about the technology is what I learned on an episode of Trucks! one Saturday morning. Here’s a link to the show synopsis:
The show featured some impressive equipment that mas made specifically for the home refiner to turn used cooking oil into fuel. I believe (memory is a little hazy) that the guy on the show was using a mix of bio and regular diesel like you’re contemplating.
What I do remember about the show was that the host had a major thing for the bio-diesel product: more power, fewer emissions, lower cost. The only downside was convenience. Refining the stuff in your garage is not something the average consumer will want to do. I also believe that there was a step wherein the oil was mixed with lye. If so, that’s something else the average consumer shouldn’t be messing with.
I do wonder why no one does this on a large scale. Lord knows there’s plenty of cooking oil going to waste. It would seem that a shipping company could at least get some use out of this if they could do it on a large scale. Perhaps the economics get out of whack when you factor in the labor cost of collections and refining - things you do for free and get some satisfaction out of. Obviously, in a large scale project there would have to be employees that would have to be paid. I’m guessing there might be regulatory considerations with a large scale facility as well.
Anyway, just out of curiosity, what do you do with the unuseable portion of the cooking oil you collect (the strainings)? You probably use them for fertilizer or something, don’t you? Also, did you need to do any other modifications to the truck other than the extra tank and warning buzzer?
Glad to hear that what I learned on SpikeTV!'s presentation of TRUCKS! was at least a little bit educational and that someone is having success with this technology in the real world.
I am NOT making bio-diesel. I have modified my truck to run off of straight vegetable oil, more precisely waste vegetable oil that has been used to fry food. It is not processed. I let it settle for a few weeks and pump all but the last few inches out of the container and through a 70 micron filter. My truck has a secondary tank for the vegetable oil and I run the oil through a filter system that preheats the oil using engine coolant and right before it goes to the injector pump an inline heater heats the oil up to a temperature that will let it act similar to diesel oil. I have a switching valve that lets me switch between vegetable oil and the diesel tank as I desire. The truck works, using straight vegetable oil, but doesn’t work well. I can go 45 mph on a level road when the ambient temp is over 90 deg F. I have added a contact tank heater to help raise the oil temperature today but haven’t had a chance to try it yet. I will probably use a mixture of pure diesel and straight vegetable if I want to continue to improve performance. By the way, one of the main drawbacks to making bio-diesel at home is that sometimes when you mix lye with veg oil it will self ignite :eek: people get hurt that way. And I’m not sure that there is enough nitrogen in fryer oil to make fertilizer. For more information Google “SVO+fuel”, any of the links are useful. That’s where I started last Christmas.
The answer to part one: Yes you would have to load the heater with corn every day. That means getting a 50 pound bag and pouring 45 pounds of it (the stove’s capacity) into the hopper. Sunday night I did just that and it burned from 6:00 PM until 10:00 AM Monday and there wasn’t enough ash left over to fill a beer can. That’s a lot of reward for what I consider a very little effort.
The answer to part two: You could probably burn vegetable oil in a fuel oil furnace. It’s not something I have researched.