Has VO popularity faded with #2 prices dropping fast?

Politics of WVO, legal aspects, emissions

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Has VO popularity faded with #2 prices dropping fast?

Postby hheynow » Tue Dec 09, 2008 12:05 am

Since diesel is at a five year low these days the economics of converting a vehicle is not what it was in the recent past. I feel the VO craze has reached a plateau and few newbies will feel compelled to convert while diesel is relatively cheap. How this relates to the availability of WVO is unclear as some may have stopped collecting because it isn't worth their time any more. Knowing that the members here are serious VO enthusiasts with years of hands on experience I don't see any of us going back to #2, but I'm thinking more nationwide. I also think that those on the other side of the fence (the home bioD brewers) will find it not cost effective to produce anymore so maybe that's more available oil. But the flip side is the economy is tanking so free fuel is free fuel. I dunno. What say you?
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Postby John Galt » Tue Dec 09, 2008 12:41 am

Recycled VO use will likely grow if supplies can be found. Homebrew biodiesel however is seeing a slump in popularity since the cost of methanol continues to climb. Commercial biodiesel is still scrambling for as much used VO as they can get because their process rapidly becomes un-economical once they have to buy virgin oil.

Studies have shown that using virgin oil for biodiesel has a higher environmental cost than petro diesel. So does most ethanol production.
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Postby hheynow » Tue Dec 09, 2008 9:39 am

The ASTM B99 that I buy is from collected WVO but its price is still $3.99/gallon. How I can rationalize paying almost double for it is getting harder to do, but since we're going into winter my startup fuel is now B20 which I can buy at #2's current low price.
Last edited by hheynow on Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
FOR SALE: 1997 Ford F-350 7.3L PSD - Plant Drive kit
1984 Mercedes Euro 300D NA - Custom two tank
Running on used plant oil and biodiesel since May 2006
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Postby John Galt » Tue Dec 09, 2008 2:01 pm

If waste VO and fat resources are collected and processed efficiently then B20 should be available at all diesel pumps as an option at a competitive price. Five vehicles burning B20 produce less pollution than one vehicle burning B100 or SVO. Amateur biodiesel and SVO aficionados have had a nice free ride, however for the greater common good the used VO and fat should go to commercial biodiesel production, AS LONG AS it's not exported to other countries purely for profit.
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Postby David » Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:05 pm

My brother in law is a high up at one of the country's largest waste disposal companies. They make a lot of back end profit from the sale of recyclables and have separate companies to handle each material.

I was having dinner with him last night and he was telling me how the price of scrap metal, paper and veg oil here has fallen through the floor. Apparently their scrap and newly acquired VO companies are basically in limbo with very little happening because its not profitable to the parent company right now.

When prices of everything were high, the collectors here seemed to step up collections and were coming more frequently and vigorously perusing new clients, mainly smaller place they hadn't been bothered with before. Now the bubble has burst, they have lost interest.

By a chance meeting with another parent from my Daughters school yesterday, I have also picked up another supply of oil which sounds like it could be worthwhile. The woman runs a large basketball stadium and told me she has a LOT of tins piled up because the regular collector hasn't been back for 2 months to get them . In exchange for some pics of her daughter at a recent school function I took, I now have the collection " contract".

The increase in fuel prices and media attention certainly did cause a wave of newbs to become interested in the veg oil game here. As many predicted ( although I was not overly convinced) it would seem a high percentage have also faded away very quickly. Either that or they learned from their basic incessant questions very quick and have managed to work things out a lot faster than their lack of basic research questions would have me expecting!

There are still a LOT more people here doing veg that weren't in it 12 months ago and certainly the growth rate has been far more rapid than what I noticed in the previous 3 years.

Another thing I have noticed is the people that wanted to shout about veg from the rooftops and tell the world about veg have also quietend down remarkably. Maybe it was my constant harping that this was not a good thing and we should look at what happened to the US as far as getting too many people involved and what it did to the availability of supplies that also finally got through? I don't think the fact many of them started having problems with their oil being taken and suppliers being taken over by collectors and other people exactly hurt their ability to see the writing on the wall either!

Most notably, the creator of the pretty much one and only Oz veg oil forum has also completely lost interest in the whole ideal. He started out with grandiose plans to put Bio in everyones tank from a commercial perspective ( Being the yuppy type and not wanting to get his hands dirty other than pumping the stuff in his City bound 4WD) and started several other web sites and political movements, all of which went no where despite some honest effort and motivation from him. I hear these days he dosen't even bother to go out of his wat to put any bio blend in his vehicles and instead just uses the diesel fuel he not so long ago was casting as the demon of hell.

What he failed to appreciate all along, ( despite myself and others trying to tell him) is that the rank and file of veg users here are homebrewers, the majority of whom are financially and self sufficiency motivated with the green aspect a nice bonus. These people look at bio and veg as a hobby and lifestyle first and foremost and I think a significant proportion of the ones I know would still make Bio or do SVO even if it were cheaper to buy Dino. I know it has become a part of what I do and even what people identify me with now so I can't see myself changing what I enjoy doing, cost considerations or not.

Here in the city, Oil has always been available to those prepared to go find it but the pressure from the collectors in many country areas and one state particularly meant Home brew veggers were lucky to get a drop. A friend of mine was threatened by one collection company for taking oil from a source they had never, ever dealt with but became irate when a rep visited them and they said they were giving their oil to my friend and were going to continue to do so. Obviously that bar of chocolate, lottery tickets and christmas card last year was not forgotten!

It will be interesting to see what happens in these places where the distances to fetch the oil are long and the amounts at the destination are low. I would not be surprised in the least if the cowboy collectors don't bail out as fast as they rode roughshod into town and people like my friend suddenly have all the oil from several surrounding towns. :roll:

I'm not sure the citys will see quite as much change. The collectors have been in business before veg fuels were heard of here and while I suspect some of the smaller suppliers may be dropped, I expect those producing a drum a month or more will still be core business.

The benefit to the likes of my friends and I will be far less competition from the other homebrewers but fortunately, that never became a real problem for us. I went on a run to line up new suppliers with a friend about 12 months ago and we only came across one place that was giving it to another vegger. Things were different for others however.

Anyway, I'm happy that the pressure should be relaxed for a while but just like the high oil prices, I don't expect the low ones will last all that long and expect the pattern will re-emerge in a few years at most.

In the mean time, I wonder if the low oil prices will reflect a similar turn down of all " The world is running out of oil" talk that was so prevalent and the excuse given for low prices. I expect to hear a lot less of that till prices go back up.
_____________________

I don't give a damn about what might or could happen until a significant group of people can tell me it HAS happened to them.
Until then, it's just more endless gloom and doom Veg folk law.
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Postby hheynow » Tue Dec 09, 2008 9:52 pm

John Galt wrote: Amateur biodiesel and SVO aficionados have had a nice free ride, however for the greater common good the used VO and fat should go to commercial biodiesel production, AS LONG AS it's not exported to other countries purely for profit.


We all know that 65% of it goes to Europe.

Wait a second John, Canada is a foreign country. :lol:

"Amateur biodiesel and SVO aficionados have had a nice free ride"
You make it sound like the ride is over.
FOR SALE: 1997 Ford F-350 7.3L PSD - Plant Drive kit
1984 Mercedes Euro 300D NA - Custom two tank
Running on used plant oil and biodiesel since May 2006
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Posts: 147
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:10 pm
Location: California

Postby John Galt » Tue Dec 09, 2008 11:56 pm

We all know that 65% of it goes to Europe.
Then you should all know that loophole in the law is being closed.
Wait a second John, Canada is a foreign country.

.. so?
Canada is quite capable of supplying all it's own biodiesel feedstock.
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