The Dilemma One of our greatest social dilemmas is the betterment of the environment. How many of us are willing to sacrifice our luxuries for a healthier and safer environment? The answer is: not enough. The biggest modern day concern is fossil fuel. Oil prices are reaching a sky high level with Saudi Arabia being the dominant source and the increase in mechanical activity and rise in global population is causing the demand for oil and fuel to shoot up. Two of the major uses or products are petrol and diesel, which are extracted from crude oil. These fuels are mostly used in transport. Many alternative fuel sources like electricity, LPG, CNG etc. have been discovered and develop but the problem doesn’t seem to go away. Something needs to be done about it.
A New Breed of Fuel
During the mid and late 1970’s, Elsbett of Germany began works on a new type of fuel for automobiles, Vegetable oil. The concept of SVO (Straight Vegetable Oil) was born. It is the concept that diesel engines can also run on vegetable oil (Addison, n.d). This oil can be unused or recycled. Recycled vegetable oil must be clean, free of any water or particles. Vegetable oil serves as a substitute for diesel fuel which is the prime fuel source for heavy transport such as trucks and busses. These make up a large percentage of commercial and private transport. Converting these vehicles to run on an alternative source could save millions of dollars on oil purchases. Apart from commercial vehicles, a significant percentage of private vehicles are also diesel powered. If converted to SVO, this could further improve the situation. Furthermore, there are conversion kits and services available for gas/petrol powered cars. People, who do not own diesel powered cars, would definitely want to convert seeing the sharp drop in fuel prices. SVO fuel is cheaper than diesel and much cheaper than petrol. So, what’s the catch?
Until now, the vehicles that have used vegetable oil fuel have done it privately or individually. Companies do provide conversion services and filtering and recycling of used vegetable oil on a small scale, but nothing is being done on a scale comparable to other primary fuel sources. Maybe this is the reason why it’s not getting popular. My idea is to provide this service on a bigger scale. A company that has a contract with local restaurants and food outlets to purchase this used oil at low prices, filter and recycle it and provide it to the general public. With the growing fuel prices today, a proper outlet for a cheaper fuel source would be a welcoming service. In the past and currently, people have avoided this source because of the need to convert and filter their oil themselves. Thus, not many people have adopted this system. If a proper service is provided to people, where the oil is recycled and is available at stations for a cheaper price than the fuel they’re currently using, then more and more people would turn this alternative. Who knows, if this kicks of, we could probably have a chain of these stations throughout the country and, pretty soon, around the world.
Who knew saving the environment was so easy, cheaper and most of all, right there in our kitchens. Here we can say that, “One man’s trash is another man’s fuel.” (One Mans Trash is Another Mans Fuel) Simple actions like these can make a big difference. It can not only save millions of dollars, but also ensure a safer healthier tomorrow.
1. Addison, K. (n.d.). Straight vegetable oil as diesel fuel. Retrieved May 28, 2008, from Journey to Forever: http://journeytoforever.org/biodiesel_svo.html
2. One Mans Trash is Another Mans Fuel. (n.d.). Retrieved May 28, 2008, from Greasecar Vegetable Fuel Systems: http://www.greasecar.com/article.cfm?aid=19
3. Run a Diesel Car on Vegetable Oil. (n.d.). Retrieved May 2008, 2008, from Sovereignity.org.uk: http://www.sovereignty.org.uk/features/eco/biofuel.html
4. Vegetable Oils Fuel Databse. (n.d.). Retrieved May 28, 2008, from Vegetableoildiesel.co.uk: http://www.vegetableoildiesel.co.uk/fuelsdatabase/database/index.