Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Waste Vegetable Oil - For Dummies - Part 1

On Saturday evening, fellow renewable fuel enthusiast, Tim from Tang arrived for the weekend, and we set about getting me properly set up for filtering waste vegetable oil.

Tim had driven the 400 miles or so from Athlone in central southern Ireland, in his veg oil fuelled Mitsubishi jeep (left), and I had offered him all the veg oil he needed to get home - provided that we could filter it.

Using a plastic 208 litre drum with a 250mm hole cut in the top with a jig-saw, Tim made a filter bag support from an old plastic flower pot with it's base removed, and a plywood cover to hold the filter bag in place.

We then fitted a oil draining tap about 8" up from the bottom of the barrel, and a water draining tap at the very bottom.

Now for the fun bit! I already had 10 cans of waste veg oil that had been collected last year from a local pub, and had been settling for a year. Tim up-ended these into the filter barrel until the point where the whiteish looking animal fat just started to appear at the mouth of the can - you don't want that in the mix, so it was time to stop pouring.

We poured about 80 litres of WVO into the tank, and then emptied it via the drain tap into 3 empty cans. We then poured these back into the top of the filter for a second pass through the now wetted filter bag.

The following morning we extracted about 70 litres of perfectly filtered veg oil, 20 litres of which, Tim poured straight into the tank of his Mitsubishi jeep (photo above). The rest I kept in the filter tank for the Lister engine generator.

Thanks to Tim Dawson-Stanley for all his help and enthusiasm over the last few days. He specialises in the supply of vegetable oil fuelled combined heat and power systems and vegetable oil conversions for vehicles in southern Ireland. Tim can be contacted at

The Lister has been running for several hours for the last two days on the filtered waste vegetable oil - straight from the filter barrel - there will be an update in a later post.

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