Thursday, September 22, 2005

Go, go, go with WVO.

"Huh? What's WVO?"

WVO stands for Waste Vegetable Oil, which is a energy efficient, sustainable, cheaper alternative to diesel fuel. It's sometimes called straight vegetable oil (SVO). I've written about biodiesel before, but WVO/SVO isn't quite the same, since, compared to biodiesel,WVO requires less processing and only minimal filtering (a blue jeans pant leg will work just fine) before use in your engine. On the other hand, biodiesel requires no engine conversion.

Many of the reasons for using WVO are the same as for using biodiesel:

* It supports the national economy.
* It improves national security.
* It improves engine life.
* It is sustainable and non-toxic.
* It produces fewer emissions.
* It's cheaper than diesel.

With a simple conversion, any diesel engine can run on WVO (or on biodiesel, with no conversion). Think of your truck, your tractor, your car. With so many restaurants willing to literally give away WVO, how can you go wrong? Here's how you can get started:

--> Learn more about WVO at and in this AJC article. (WVO/SVO versión en español aqui.)

--> Plan your engine conversion with information from,, and

Now load up on fuel and you'll be ready to drive vegetarian. Enjoy!

"The use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today. But such oils may become in the course of time as important as petroleum and the coal tar products of the present time." - Rudolf Diesel (1911)


Alex said...

Thanks for starting this blog and for including the recent newspaper article in the AJC. I have been overwhelmed by all the interest in WVO conversions. I have been doing this for two years, trying to generate interest, and possibly, a few customers for kits. I hope people are now starting to see that we cannot continue with our current rate of consumption of fossil fuels.

I do not advocate that WVO is the solution to a pending oil crisis, but it is renewable and cleaner. I believe the ultimate solution will be to change our consumption habits.

We MUST learn to conserve and not consume!

Alex McKinney

Karama said...

Thanks for writing, Alex, and thanks for your good and much-needed work at Native Renewables. I agree with you and further suggest that we are already in an energy crisis.

* The US has 5% of the world's population, but we use 25% of the world's oil.

* We "need" it so badly that we're sending our friends, relatives, neighbors, and selves to war to fight, kill, and die for it.

* Once we get it, refining, processing, transporting, storing, and burning it is killing us and making us sick.

* And it doesn't take much time on this planet to guess who bears the brunt of these burdens. Nobody, especially the poor folks and colored folks who are burdened the most and benefit the least, should have to suffer so for oil.

And that's just part of the crisis. Thanks for the work you are doing to help reduce it. Drive gently, folks, and try transit, and walk with a purpose.

I'm glad you enjoy So what can I do, Alex. I hope you will visit again soon and spread the word.

Jason Younker said...

I thought the US has only like 2-3% of the world's population ... either way, we definitely are using WAY MORE than our fair share of fossil fuels. Consumers are beginning to take note, and it only helps with people such as ourselves helping to spread the word.

I've been testing driving some older diesel Mercedes-Benz with the intent of running biodiesel. Not sure yet if I want to go the route of running it on WVO or SVO (since here in Colorado, more prone to gel'ing). That is always something that I could do down the road when I have more experience with the matter.

Jason Younker
Alternative Fuels Awareness Organization

Alex said...

There are plenty of people up north who are running WVO without the gelling problem. It just takes a conscience effort to remember to switch back to diesel soon enough in colder climates.

There are some really great pioneers in this field, such as Dana Linscott. I believe he is located in Minnesota and his website is

As more people become knowledgable of alternative fuels, the funding and research needed to make it more readily available will come. It is just going to take all of us who are already doing something about it to continue spreading the word.

Karama said...

Hi Jason,

You're right either way, we're using way too much oil. Thanks for sharing your site, and thanks for visiting So what can I do. I hope you like it. If so, please spread the word and come back again soon.

Best wishes with your biodiesel Mercedes!

Karama said...

HI Alex,

Thanks for the tips and for the link to VegOil Conversions.

I appreaciate your and Jason's efforts to spread the word about alternative fuels.

Good days!

Karama said...

Also, check out

Karama said...

And check out this letter to the editor I wrote on the topic.

Karama said...

Now here's a great use of waste!

Landfill a 'green' electricity machine: DeKalb dump turns trash gas to cleaner, yet pricier, power

By Ty Tagami
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 12/27/06
When thousands of Georgia residents flick their light switches, the resulting illumination is powered by rotting food scraps and moldering paper in a DeKalb County landfill.

The county is the first government in Georgia to harness the power of landfill gas. Since October, two 20-cylinder engines have been creating electricity by burning methane emitted from the county-owned Seminole Landfill, off River Road, south of I-20. They now consume about two-thirds of the methane emitted from the decomposing garbage, producing 3.2 megawatts per hour.

It's a miniscule amount in comparison with the massive coal-fired plants dotting Georgia, but it's a start for consumers willing to pay extra for "green" energy.

"We're producing enough electricity for about 3,000 homes," said Billy Malone, an assistant director with the county Sanitation Division.

County officials held the official ribbon-cutting earlier this month, the result of two years of effort by county officials to participate in Georgia Power's alternative energy program. The utility has agreed to buy electricity from the county at nearly twice the cost of power from coal. The 10-year agreement should cover the county's $5 million cost within five years, Malone said. Any profit thereafter will reduce sanitation rates, he said.

This isn't brand-new technology. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has supported landfill gas projects since 1994, and there are about 400 across the country, including facilities at three commercial trash dumps in Georgia. But DeKalb, and the city of LaGrange, which sells landfill gas rather than burning it, are the only Georgia communities in the garbage-power business.

County Chief Executive Officer Vernon Jones, whose administration began pursuing the contract with Georgia Power in 2004, calls the new facility a gift to the environment.

The two engines emit pollution —- about 23.5 tons of nitrogen oxide a year. But the EPA supports this form of energy because it produces fewer pollutants than other sources, such as coal-fired plants. It also consumes methane waste that otherwise would contribute to global warming.

Gil Turman, a community leader in south DeKalb, said some residents near the landfill initially were concerned about noise from the engines, but he said he hadn't heard any complaints.

Indeed, Michelle Jackson, who is active in her Riverside Estates neighborhood about a mile from the landfill, didn't know the facility was up and running. "I think it's a great step for Georgia in terms of recycling," she said. None of her neighbors has mentioned noise or fumes, she said.

That's a good thing, because this facility could produce electricity for generations to come. Seminole is projected to close in 2071, and the moldering trash should produce gas for three decades thereafter, Malone said.

And that is another major benefit of this kind of energy, he said. "Landfills are a renewable resource —- unless we stop making garbage."

CHARLES W. JONES / Staff HILLS OF GREEN DeKalb County is looking a little greener these days. At the Seminole Road Landfill green energy plant, the county is turning its trash into profit all while helping to save the environment. The process 1. The gases are slowly drawn from the capped landfill of waste and sent to the utility flare station. How a landfill works a. A 50/50 mixture of methane and carbon dioxide is produced as organic waste decomposes. b. Pipes inserted into the landfill provide a point of release for gases. A slight vacuum is appled to draw gases into and up the pipe. 2. The methane and carbon dioxide mixture usually is destroyed in the flare. c. At the Seminole plant, about two-thirds of the methane is extracted and sent to the generator house. d. The remaining gases continue to the flare to be safely destroyed. 3. Two 20-cylinder Caterpillar 3520 engines run continuously, burning the extracted methane. They generate 3.2 megawatts (1.6 mw each) of electricity per hour that is sent to Georgia Power's River Road Substation. 4. The electricity from Seminole landfill is enough to supply approximately 3,000 homes with full-time usage. It is sent from the substation to consumers. 5. Green Energy subscribers purchase electricity in 100-kilowatt per-hour blocks per month for an additional charge. —- QUICK FACTS What we do with our trash 55% Landfill 31% Recycle 14% Burn —- 30%: Percentage of all the waste in Georgia that's held in DeKalb County 1,800 tons: Daily amount of garbage taken in at Seminole landfill $5 million: Cost to build the green energy facility $100,000: Seminole green energy facility's monthly revenue from electricity made from garbage when sold to Georgia Power 10 years: Length of time landfill has contract to sell energy to Georgia Power 125: Buying one block of green energy per month for a year is equivalent to planting this many trees —- SEMINOLE LANDFILL GREEN ENERGY TIMELINE Nov. 6 Both engines turned on. 2011 Projected year project will have paid for itself. Other than maintainence, pure profit begins. 2071 Seminole Landfill will stop taking in garbage. 2073 Last load of garbage will start giving off gases. 2101 Projected year landfill will stop emitting gases, ending energy production. —- SEMINOLE LANDFILL GREEN ENERGY TIMELINE Nov. 6: Both engines turned on. 2011: Projected year project will have paid for itself. Other than maintainence, pure profit begins. 2071: Seminole Landfill will stop taking in garbage. 2073: Last load of garbage will start giving off gases. 2101: Projected year landfill will stop emitting gases, ending energy production. Diagram illustrates steps involved in the process. Sources: DeKalb County Seminole Road Landfill, Georgia Power, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency

Anonymous said...

Check out this VW Beetle! We're converting it to run on Waste Veggile Oil.

2001 VW Beetle Conversion

Matt said...

Wow, this is a good piece of writing. The use of vegetable oil I found incredibly pertinent now as an alternative fuel. Do you know of any good resources that suggest using straight vegetable oil or further go into the massive benefits of running a diesel vehicle on SVO/WVO? Thanks.