Finding Veggie Oil Across Country - Hard or Easy????

Collecting, filtering and dewatering of WVO SVO vegetable oil. For Biodiesel producers too.

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Finding Veggie Oil Across Country - Hard or Easy????

Postby sherry » Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:54 am

My husband and I are selling our home and buying an rv and want to install a veggie system? What is the best system or installer? How hard is it to find veggie oil across the country? I understand the owner of the container the oil is put into can have you arrested if you withdrawl oil from the container even if the restaurant owner gives you permission - is this true? Any info on pros and cons will help. We know nothing! Thanks
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Re: Finding Veggie Oil Across Country - Hard or Easy????

Postby David » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:06 pm

sherry wrote: We know nothing!

In that case my advise to you would be to not do veggie till you have a minimum of 12 months veg experience.
It's a steep learning curve and there is endless misinformation and skewed opinions out there.

A guy I know that got into veg a while back had nothing but problems with his vehicle but stayed with it. At the 3rd IP rebuild in under a year and having given up on veg till he sorted out what he was doing wrong, it was discovered that the problem was actually caused by the fuel he was buying from a local dodgy service station. He had not run any veg in the time since the last rebuild but the pump had the same now familiar symptoms. In actual fact the veg was helping the problem by washing through the contaminants from the dino and slowing the demise of the IP down.

When He posted his problems on the local forum no one spotted the problem except me because I knew and had tested the oil he was using and knew there to be nothing wrong with it. The fact was, even he didn't know that due to his minimal experience and understandable doubts having had so much trouble.
Had he been on the road using a different oil and diesel every time, the problem could easily have never been determined. ( and in fairness may have never happend also)

The problem was and would be for you that everyone will tell you any problem is veg related like diesel is always perfect and there was no such thing as a diesel mechanic till veg came along.

There are a myriad of other problems that can arise from using veg that are simple and avoidable when you know what you are doing but would be a huge problem if you were stranded on the side of the road and didn't know or understand what to look for.

I have been doing Veg 3.5 years now with 2 vehicles and I got caught out as recently as yesterday with a problem that necessitated the car being towed home. Of course it was nothing to do with veg and through experience, I never assumed it was, but I will cop out and blame the stress of breaking down and being tired slewed my thinking to initially miss the real problem which was in fairness, somewhat masked.

When I got home and had a chance to think about the problem, I went straight out and pinpointed it but at the time, my thoughts were not as clear which caused me to miss it. I hold the view with diesel engines, unless something goes bang, If a diesel stops it's fuel related. In this case the lift pump failed but not entirely so it took some thinking to diagnose the problem.

My point is even when you know what your doing, you can get caught out. To do something that you don't really understand that is a kind of " Out there" to begin with compounds any potential difficulties 1000 fold.
Just understanding what can happen with veg and what you can discount is a big thing and The reason I think you would be well advised to get plenty of veg experience before you attempt to run it in the way you are thinking.

What is the best system or installer?

Some may disagree but I would insist the best system is the one you and/or your husband designs and installs themselves.

While you may be able to phone some vendors of kits at some time, your husband would still be trying to fix something he probably fully didn't understand and may be somewhat intimidated with.
By designing and understanding how it works and installing it himself, his knowledge will be infinitely better and this could mean the difference between having a roadside stop for 10 while a simple repair or bypass is made or having to spend a weekend by the side of the road till you can phone the vendor on Monday Morning for advise.
You would be very lucky to find a mechanic that would understand a veg system and not rip you off repairing anything they blamed veg on.

Likewise, having an understanding of veg will allow you to design a system that is most appropriate and effective for YOUR needs, not what suited someone else in a different part of the world with an entirely different vehicle using it in a totally different way.

The system I made for my vehicle is unique in it's simplicity as far as I know but I have been told so many times it wouldn't work. It breaks so many of the veg mantras yet the trouble I have had with it has been nil and vehicles I know that have been converted in the approved manner have fallen by the wayside in significant number.
After 3.5 years I am retiring that vehicle due to rust issues but am planning in putting that motor into another car because it runs better than any other engine I have come across in those vehicles.
I have another engine that was converted in the approved fashion that was given to me after being coked up within a fraction of the miles mine has done.

How hard is it to find veggie oil across the country?

Can't answer for your country but I know several people that have taken trips around and in this country and the further out they get the easier they find it. Going by what I have read, I think availability varies according to the area you are in.

One thing I would advise based on the accounts of travelers I have read is to have as much oil carrying capacity as possible. Regular supply of the amount of fuel you need to get to the next destination is hardly the sure thing it is with buying diesel. People tend to find it a feast or fammine so if you have plenty of capacity and get to a place where there is no oil, with a good reserve you stand a better chance of getting somewhere you can get the oil you need.

I understand the owner of the container the oil is put into can have you arrested if you withdrawl oil from the container even if the restaurant owner gives you permission - is this true? Any info on pros and cons will help.

That's the preached veg mantra. Some people hold it more dear than others. Within the absolute letter of the law you may be arrested for taking oil, the likelihood of that happening is debatable but many forumites will always take the the moral high road and assume the greatest line of gloom and doom so in reality it's up to your own judgment.
Many will cite contracts etc but in the past the oil collectors have proven to be nothing but cowboys and very quick to abandon contracts and agreements they have made. As far as i'm concerned, if someone gives me oil from their restaurant, then I'm in the clear. not for me to worry about what contracts they may have or how well the people they have the contracts with ( if there is in fact a contract) uphold their end of the bargain.
From accounts I have read, the collectors are anything but reliable, trustworthy or honorable business people. For the sake of pre-empting the vested interests, I'm sure there are some exceptions

Having said that I'm sure there will be many chime in now with shrieks of protest at those comments.

What appears to be successful is putting posts on forums like this stating your route and what time you expect to be in certain areas asking for local veggers for oil for sale or that you would be glad to take excess off their hands.

Before you get to that though there is soooo much to learn and you have a great many hours reading and learning ahead of you before you will even have the most rudimentary idea of what is required to run the stuff successfully.

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 John Galt » Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:52 pm

What David says is correct. What you have in mind is likely not a good idea without a lot more experience, otherwise you will find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere faced with expensive repairs or worse. Good, clean, DRY, used VO is very hard to find and usually almost as expensive as diesel fuel. The free veggie ride is long gone.
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Re: Finding Veggie Oil Across Country - Hard or Easy????

Postby SunWizard » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:56 am

I agree with most of Davids post above.
sherry wrote:My husband and I are selling our home and buying an rv and want to install a veggie system? What is the best system or installer?

Your own. See my system here in the converted vehicles database, I think its better than any kit you can buy. If you can find an installer, they will only install certain systems so your choice may depend on them. The best design depends on what engine you get.
How hard is it to find veggie oil across the country?

Hard. Best to carry a large 200 gallon tank. Make VO contacts before you start your trip.
I understand the owner of the container the oil is put into can have you arrested if you withdrawl oil from the container even if the restaurant owner gives you permission - is this true?

Probably since some put a sticker saying "contents property of greasy company" but its rare. I read of some company in TX that hired a private eye to catch grease thieves that were stealing from their dumpsters on a regular basis. And they caught someone who stole many times and was selling it. Some have cameras. Some use locked or indoor bins.

Driving all over town to 10 restaurants in a big RV, you might only find 2 where the owner/managers are there, and how many will say yes?

You could try asking for VO around your town before doing anything else (especially before you convert) and get an idea of how hard it is. It will be harder on the road, especially in certain parts of the country where a powerful renderer or biodiesel company has a monopoly.
Any info on pros and cons will help. We know nothing! Thanks

Reading everything on this and other forums is a good start.
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Postby gypsyjake » Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:42 pm

I have had some experience collecting grease in various parts, SLC, Bellingham, WA and along the Alaska highway and in Anchorage. And it is truly hit or miss. Sunwizard is correct, many times whole towns will be monopolized by biodiesel companies. However in my experience the grease is always there as long as you have the time to find it. My worst grease hunt was in Anchorage where everyone keeps there bins inside due to the cold weather. We collected about 20 gallons maybe in a week, but on the 7th day we went to a place that had just put there grease back in cubies for at least a season - maybe longer 100 + gallons, so we just took the best. I don't have much experience with filtration - i am in the process of recreating it and am glad I found this forum so i can do it right this time. Be prepared for time and energy, a good call as long as you have more time than money...
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Postby HoldOnTight » Sun Sep 05, 2010 7:21 pm

There are a number of approaches to processing the oil once you get it. You need to process it to get it clean and get the water out. Some processing approaches require lots of time, but are very cheap and largely hands-off. Others are much faster, but the equipment is more expensive. The last set is time consuming and prone to spills, get dirtier... So lurk around hear and see what you can learn about processing waste veggie oil into fuel.

This is the part you didn't ask about, but it keeps most people away from "the greasy life." Which approach fits your plans depends on how often you will move the vehicle, and not how far! Some have done what you want to do, so don't let this response deter you.

Get as much knowledge as you can here and ask lots of questions. You are on your way! There is so much gratification when you can drive past the gas station and you are burning veg. oil.

I have a pick up truck and I have a 100 gal tank because I like to be able to run a full circle trip without depending on hooking up with others...on my own schedule. If you have more time and plan well, you can hook up with greasers who can give you unprocessed oil or processed oil. Be mindful that they put time and effort into collecting the Waste oil, processing the oil, consumables like filters...all cost $. Reasonable compensation is half the cost of diesel, but some will give it away for free if they have more coming in than they can use.

Late 99 Ford F-250, Designed and installed at home, 30 kMi on VO. WVO temp at solenoid valve is 185-195+F, winter-summer.
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Postby Renntag » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:58 pm

Nothing wrong with going "all in" and going for it. Stay local to a good source of help to get you off the ground. A good system will serve you well. Following advice from those that have been in the game long enough will improve your learning curve.

This is a messy business, take all precautions to keep it clean.

Consider redundancy and extra expendable materials so you are never stuck on the road waiting a week for a replacement filter.
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Postby BrentM » Mon Aug 22, 2011 3:19 pm

I think it's much easier to start local. The problem with converting your RV is that you probably take it on road trips and like everyone mentioned, it's best to start local and figure it out. I would get a cheap vehicle that you can convert and learn the ins and outs before converting your RV. By the time, you figure it all out, it might be easier to find sources throughout the US or where you travel.
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