Archive for September, 2008

DVD Review: Golden Fuel Systems SVO Box Set

September 28, 2008

I finally broke down and bought the three DVD SVO Box Set that Charlie Anderson over at Golden Fuel Systems put together.

I’ve got the utmost respect for Charlie. His systems are based on good components at a good price. I do, however, believe that in general they don’t provide enough heat to adequately thin the oil, especially for Alaska.

You would do fine starting with a Golden Fuel System, then add a flat plate heat exchanger and one of PlantDrive’s electric Vegtherm heaters. I’m also a fan of the VegMax coolant-heated filter, instead of the electrically heated Racor that Golden uses. The Racor is a fine filter, but I’m already maxed out with my little VW alternators.

I also avoid pumping from other people’s grease bins, something Charlie encourages (with the restaurant owner’s permission of course). He’s diving into a legal grey area, and up here the collection companies are small, locally owned ones. We try to respect each other and not steal grease.

Okay, back to the point: Charlie’s DVDs are fairly long (2+ hours), low-budget lessons in how to SVO the Golden Fuel way. Interesting, informative, and not necessarily the way I do things – but it’s always good to compare notes.

The tone and quality is very similar to the instructional videos they’ve posted online (they’re also on youtube).

First we watched “Diesel – The Man • The Engine • The Potential.”

Well, other than the picture of Dr. Diesel on the front, there’s not a whole lot about “The Man.” There is, however some good parts explaining the difference between diesel and gasoline engines, a great visit to a diesel injection shop, and interviews with diesel truck dealers. The end, however, was my favorite part: a whole bunch of three minute snippets covering an array diesel vehicles, with little tips and opinions on converting them. Pretty cool stuff if you’re an aspiring diesel geek, or just want to be able to talk diesel with your SVO buddies.

Next was “Liquid Gold 2.”

Lots and lots of time looking at dumpsters. Looking for good oil in dumpsters, looking for bad oil in dumpsters, looking for the settling line in dumpsters. Some pumping on the road with Golden’s “One-Shot” unit, some pumping into tanks to bring home. Stuff that’s not really applicable in Alaska, since grease dumpsters are frozen solid for half the year, and we don’t pump out of other people’s dumpsters anyway. The second half was more relevant, lots of experiments with filtering. Looking for water, filtering cold oil, filtering on the cheap, disposing of the gunk, etc. All straightforward settle then clean by water-block cartridge or filter bag methods.  Charlie covers all the basics, but leaves out more advanced designs like the Frybrid still and cyclonic separators like the diesecraft centrifuges.

Finally we took a look at “SVO Seminar 2006.”

An aptly named DVD. Yep, you guessed it, 2+ hours of watching Charlie talk in front of a white board. Not as visually entertaining as the previous two, but all the information to do it the Golden Fuels way is in there. A decent bang for the buck. Hell, you’d pay $25 to see a SVO expert talk wouldn’t you?

Interested?  They’re $25 a piece or $50 for the 3-DVD set from Golden Fuel Systems, and provide some good insight into veg-fueling diesels, grease collection and SVO theory.

Veg On!

Dillingham Biodiesel and Fish Oil Fuel Systems – Oct 17-19, 2008

September 21, 2008

We’re pleased to announce a second Bristol Bay course this October! 

UAF Bristol Bay Dillingham Campus is hosting a one-credit three-day Biodiesel and Fish Oil Fuel Systems – SCIA F193 course Friday October 17th to Sunday October 19th.

This is a repeat of the King Salmon course offered October 10-12th.

Once again the Bristol Bay Economic Development Council is subsidizing the course.

Please register by October 3rd. Call UAF-BBC Dillingham at 842-5109 or 800-478-5109 for more information.

You can also see the King Salmon biodiesel and fish oil fuel systems course description for details.

We’ll see you there!

If you can’t make it out to Dillingham check out our other upcoming events:

October 10-12, 2008 Friday-Sunday
Biodiesel and Fish Oil Fuel Systems
UAF-Bristol Bay Campus Naknek-King Salmon
$75 Call 246-4292 to register.

October 17-19, 2008 Friday-Sunday
The Food vs. Fuel Distraction: Sustainable Local Biodiesel.
Bioneers Conference at UAA-Anchorage
Register at www.sustainak.org.

Sunday November 2, 2008 2:00pm
Backyard Biodiesel Basics
Free at the Eagle River Nature Center
$5 parking for non-members – no registration required.

Saturday November 8th, 2008 12:30-4:30pm
Hands-On Biodiesel Brewing
Unitarian Fellowship, Turnagain, Anchorage
$49 ($39 before Oct 8th.) Call 688-5288 to register.

NOTE: We STRONGLY encourage you to attend the Nov. 2nd class first as the hands-on course is a intermediate-level brewing course and involves a fair amount of chemistry.

Veg On!

DIY Alaska SVO Conversion Supplies.

September 19, 2008

Looking to convert that diesel truck of yours to run on used cooking oil?  We’ve got supplies in stock for the Do-It-Yourselfer!  Our systems have been tested to below -20F, parked outside overnight in Alaska winters.

As an authorized Plantdrive dealer/installer we specialize in hard-to-find parts at reasonable prices.  What’s more, when you buy from us you get support and guidance in converting your vehicle from the most experienced installers in Alaska.

We offer a box of the major components needed for:

  • 1989-1998.5 12v Dodge
  • 1983-1994 pre-Powerstroke Ford
  • 1968-1985 Mercedes
  • 1977-2003 VW
  • Many early 1980s diesels (excluding Chevy/GMC)

Newer vehicles require additional components which we can special order for you.

We also sell components separately for those who want to pick and choose.

The Alaska Standard Box ($1080 picked up at our Chugiak location) contains:

Two Heaters:
$165 Vegtherm Mega 12v heater PLUS WIRING
$190 HotPlate-26 Heat Exchanger

One Heated Filter:
$240 VegMax (closeout on old style) coolant heated filter
$70 3-pack extra VegMax filters

Two Valves:
$100 1st high-flow Hydraforce valve
$100 2nd high-flow Hydraforce valve

One Tank Heater:
$230 HotFox coolant heated tank heater. (special order to length)

*prices subject to change without notice.

You can locally source fuel lines, mounting hardware and electrical switches to finish out your system.  If you can scrounge a tank the additional components usually run about $500.  An industrious DIYer can have a bomb-proof Plantdrive-based Alaska Standard SVO system up and running for around $1500.

We also supply high-end components for newer vehicles, and offer full-service installs.

For more info email: svo@alaskabiodiesel.org

Veg On!

Naknek – King Salmon Fish Oil Biodiesel Course – Oct 10-12, 2008

September 18, 2008

Our biodiesel and svo seminars are now available for college credit!  UAF Bristol Bay is hosting a one-credit three-day Biodiesel and Fish Oil Fuel Systems course Friday October 10th to Sunday October 12th.

The course is subsidized by the Bristol Bay Economic Development Council, so we are able to offer a 15-hour course for only $75!  Registration ends Next FRIDAY September 26th, so hop to it and call 246-4292.  Here’s the SCIA F193 registration form, and the SCIA F193 Class Flyer.

This course will provide students with the knowledge to design straight vegetable/fish oil (SVO) fuel systems and biodiesel processing techniques. Students will learn safe chemistry techniques and will make their own small batches of biodiesel.

In addition, we will study the state of biodiesel in Alaska, look at which diesels work on vegetable/fish oil the best, explore the science behind biodiesel and SVO systems, compare emissions, learn how to collect oil responsibly, and discuss storage requirements.

We will investigate the different types of processors and SVO systems available and will develop plans for local implementation of biodiesel/SVO systems.

If you can’t make it out to King Salmon check out our other upcoming events:

October 17-19, 2008 Friday-Sunday
Biodiesel and Fish Oil Fuel Systems
UAF-Bristol Bay Campus Dillingham.
$75 Call 842-5109 or 800-478-5109 to register.

October 17-19, 2008 Friday-Sunday
The Food vs. Fuel Distraction: Sustainable Local Biodiesel.
Bioneers Conference at UAA-Anchorage
Register at www.sustainak.org.

Sunday November 2, 2008 2:00pm
Backyard Biodiesel Basics
Free at the Eagle River Nature Center
$5 parking for non-members – no registration required.

Saturday November 8th, 2008 12:30-4:30pm
Hands-On Biodiesel Brewing
Unitarian Fellowship, Turnagain, Anchorage
$49 ($39 before Oct 8th.) Call 688-5288 to register.

NOTE: We STRONGLY encourage you to attend the Nov. 2nd class first as the hands-on course is a intermediate-level brewing course and involves a fair amount of chemistry.

We are also working on a Dillingham course for October – Stay tuned.

Veg On!

Prices go up, Prices go down at Alaska Mill and Feed.

September 16, 2008

Well, it’s been almost a month since Alaska Mill and Feed dropped their grease pickup prices for restaurants from $30 down to $10 (for up to two barrels).  They’re also accepting oil in cubies: $1 a jug with a $5 minimum.  This is great for those small restaurants that previously had a 55 gallon minimum, and had to pour the cubies into a barrel at the warehouse.  Now it’s just drop, pay and go!

On the filtered-dewatered oil (bulk yellow grease) sales they’ve been able to keep prices relatively low at $1.60 per gallon, with a 55 gallon minimum.  But, there is now a $20 refundable deposit for drums, and a $15 refundable deposit for the reinforced wooden pallets they put the drums on.  Of course, if you want to slide the drum off the pallet and into your truck yourself you can leave the pallet and skip the deposit.  Bring the drum back and your $20 comes back to you too.

We really appreciate the way Mill and Feed supports the vegoil community, and recognize the balance they’re trying to keep by selling yellow grease at an affordable price.

Looking for more insight into the Alaska grease scene?  Check out “Grease Price Conspiracies.”

Veg On!

Questions for Sarah Palin from the ADN.

September 10, 2008

This isn’t a political blog, but here in the Last Frontier we are ravaged by Palin fever, and many folks want to know what Alaskans think of Sarah Palin.

As you may know a number of Alaska State-level politicians have recently gone to prison for bribery and corruption tied to Alaska’s oil industry – the source of almost all State government funds.

Now, we’ve got our Senior US Senator, third-in-line to the presidency – “Uncle” Ted Stevens under indictment for “unreported” gifts, and our only US representative Don Young spending a million dollars on legal fees when no one knows why.

What is a Republican Governor to do? We she will stick with the shady Republican powerhouse we have in congress, or is she serious about corruption and will help to put Democrats into office? The Anchorage Daily News has a great opinion piece on this one.

FYI, Anchorage’s popular Democrat Mayor Mark Begich is challenging Senator Ted Stevens and former Democratic Minority House Leader Ethan Berkowitz is taking on either incumbent Representative Don Young or Palin’s Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell who are headed to a primary vote recount.  Both races are very tight in the polls.  Heck, before Palin was nominated is looked like it could have been a Democratic sweep of the state!

And if you want more Alaska opinions (from the left and the right) try Anne Kilkenny or Andrew Halcro.

Anyway, here’s the ADN piece:

http://www.adn.com/opinion/view/story/520272.html

Questions for Palin

This week, she’ll finally emerge from her protective shell

There’s no polite way to say it: Sarah Palin has been hiding out from hard questions. It took 10 days from when John McCain announced his pick until the McCain campaign agreed to schedule Palin an unscripted interview with a serious journalist.

ABC landed the big “get” with Palin. She’ll talk to newscaster Charlie Gibson later this week.

McCain’s camp has handled their vice-presidential pick like some celebrity who will only deign to give an interview if conditions are favorable. McCain campaign manager Rick Davis told Fox News Sunday, Palin would take questions “when we think it’s time and when she feels comfortable doing it.”

Palin has accused Barack Obama of being a me-first celebrity candidate for president. At least he has been facing media questions for the past 18 months.

Here are some of the questions Palin should be answering, for Alaskans and the rest of the country:

• You present yourself as a Republican maverick who took on your own party’s corrupt political establishment. In November’s election, your party is running an indicted U.S. Senator, Ted Stevens, who is awaiting trial on charges he accepted more than $250,000 of unreported gifts from the state’s most powerful lobbyist. Will you vote for his opponent? Will you urge Alaskans to help you change Washington and vote him out of office? If not, why not?

• Sen. Ted Stevens’ trial is still pending; he has declined to say whether he would accept a pardon from President Bush before Bush leaves office in January. Do Alaska voters deserve an answer to that question before they cast their vote for or against Stevens in November? What is your position on a president pardoning a public official before a jury has ruled on guilt or innocence?

• Alaska Congressman Don Young appears to have won his Republican primary, even though you endorsed his opponent. Will you vote for your fellow Republican Don Young, who has spent over $1 million on legal fees without telling his constituents what sort of legal trouble he is in?

• Why have you reneged on your earlier pledge to cooperate with the Alaska Legislature’s investigation into Troopergate?

• In spring of 2004, the Daily News reported that you cited family considerations in deciding not to try for the U.S. Senate: “How could I be the team mom if I was a U.S. senator?” What was different this time as you decided to run for vice president?

• As governor of Alaska, you have not pushed for laws or regulations that put your personal views on abortion, same-sex marriage and creationism into public policy. As vice president, will you push to outlaw abortion, restrict same-sex marriage and require the teaching of creationism?

• If you were a fully qualified vice-presidential candidate from the get-go, why did you wait more than 10 days to face reporters?

• McCain spokesman Rick Davis told Fox News the media didn’t show you enough “deference.” How much deference do you expect to get from Vladimir Putin or Hugo Chavez?

• You have said victory is in sight in Iraq. In July 2007, when you visited Kuwait, you said, “I’m not going to judge the surge.” In the March 2007 issue of Alaska Business Monthly, you were asked about the surge and quoted saying:

“I’ve been so focused on state government, I haven’t really focused much on the war in Iraq. . . . While I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place.”

Define “victory” in Iraq? What is the exit plan?

BOTTOM LINE: The nation deserves to hear Palin’s unfiltered answers to serious questions.

Vegwerks joins the Biodiesel Blogs Aggregator!

September 6, 2008

Piedmont Biofuels Aggregator

We’re honored to be included in Piedmont Biofuels’ biodiesel blogs aggregator at:

www.biofuels.coop/aggregator.

To quote from the Collaborative Biodiesel Tutorial:

A blog is an online diary. The biodiesel world has several such diarists, ranging from listings of news  articles about biodiesel, to very personal essays on small-scale biodiesel business, biodiesel co-operatives, and biodiesel homebrewing. These ‘blogs’ are collected into one single web page at the Aggregator page.

Veg On!