Veggie Voyagers

Couple travelled 30 states and 3 Canadian provinces between 7/07 and 5/08 running their 1987 Ford truck on straight veggie oil. The blog continues with a focus on the natural world and energy politics from a personal perspective

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Collecting Veggie Oil

Collecting Veggie Oil on the Road Our Veggie tank holds 19 gallons, but we usually process only 15 gallons of collected oil at a time. Processing means running the oil through an Acme juicer, modified to work as a centrifuge, to clean it and remove the water. ( More on this later ).
With 15 gallons of clean oil in our tank we have a range of about 200-225 miles before I have to process more.

As we pass through small towns, we’re always on the lookout for good oil. Asian restaurants are reputed to be good sources, but we haven’t been able to collect any oil from them yet. Most of our oil has come from bars and burger joints. I look for oil that doesn’t have congealed fat or a lot of floating debris and doesn’t smell rancid.

We have two 5 gal plastic tanks strapped to our winch mount in front and two 5 gal coolers plus a 5gal metal jeep can on the rear racks. I’ve also converted one of the 10 gal camper waste holding tanks to carry yet more oil. So our total collection capacity is 35 gal.

Most restaurants have a small grease dumpster or else some 55 gal barrels out back. Sometimes they have a contract with a rendering company, which picks up the oil. In that case the oil belongs to renderer and it would be stealing to take it. But so far, most places have been happy to give us the oil.

To collect the oil, I have a heavy duty 12 volt pump with 20 feet of 1” hose. I also have some 20’ jumper cables in case I can’t drive right up to the oil barrels.
I put on my coveralls and rubber gloves and pump the oil directly into our containers. It takes about an hour.

The oil collection is one of the “work” aspects of our trip, sometime tedious and not looked forward to when we roll into a new town. To make the best use of our “town time”, Chris usually works on the blog at the local library while I hunt up the oil.


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