The new falcon herald logo.
Feature Articles

Another avenue for diesel

When Chuck Danley retired as a major, he did what many retired military people do – he got a camper trailer. At the time, he used a Chevy Avalanche to pull the trailer, but with gas prices rising, he eventually switched to a diesel truck, which led to his interest of converting from petroleum-based diesel to vegetable oil.Via the Internet, Danley found just six U.S. companies that made a conversion kit. He contacted a company in Missouri but it didn’t pan out, so Danley, who has a master’s degree in engineering from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, decided to start his own business to create possibilities for conversion to vegetable oil.”Rudolph Diesel’s first diesel engine ran on peanut oil,” Danley said. “To make a viable fuel out of vegetable oil, you have to lower the oil’s viscosity.” He said there are three ways to do this:1) Use heat, chemicals, and water to remove the glycerin from the vegetable oil, which results in a fuel known as biodiesel2) Use the heat of the diesel engine to thin the vegetable oil3) Add thinners to the vegetable oil”Biodiesel is dangerous to make,” Danley said. “I know of people who have nearly burned their houses down trying to make it and singed their eyebrows, too. Why tempt fate?” If biodiesel contains any residual water, it corrodes engine parts, he added. “If there’s a problem with a diesel engine, and you take it to the dealer and they find water in the fuel tank, your warranty is no good.”Instead of making biodiesel, Danley decided to concentrate on the second alternative – using the heat of the engine to thin the oil enough to make it burnable. The problem is how to get a cold engine started. Danley solved this problem by creating a kit consisting of a tank for holding the vegetable oil, a fuel filter and controller.A vehicle equipped with Danley’s kit starts up using petroleum-based diesel stored in the vehicle’s standard tank. When the controller determines the engine is hot enough, it automatically switches the fuel source from the petroleum-based diesel tank to the tank containing vegetable oil. The switchover usually happens five to 10 minutes after the engine starts up.When the engine is turned off, the vegetable oil drains out of the engine and the controller switches back to the petroleum-based diesel tank, ready to be restarted. If the driver plans to restart the engine within 10 minutes, the controller can be overridden to keep the engine in vegetable oil mode.Danley said he gets 18 miles per gallon on the highway running 100-percent vegetable oil and 12 miles per gallon in the city. He sells his vegetable oil for $1 per gallon.He uses waste vegetable oil collected from more than 100 local restaurants to produce the oil he sells. Before he started collecting the oil, some restaurants were throwing the oil away, Danley said.Instead of relying on water to remove impurities from the oil, as in the biodiesel process, Danley filters the oil at least five times. The first filtration occurs as he siphons the oil from the restaurant’s bin into the storage tank on his truck.At his processing facility at Meadow Lake Airport, Danley transfers the oil to another tank and lets it settle for at least two weeks. He then siphons the oil into another tank and puts it through four filters under pressure. The last filter is a one micron filter. “Most fuel filters are two to seven microns,” he said.Danley also makes a summer blend of 80 percent vegetable oil and 20 percent thinner that he calls a “bioblend.” He currently sells the bioblend for $2.27 per gallon. The thinned oil can be burned in diesel engines without using a conversion kit. The bioblend also can replace the petroleum-based diesel needed for use with his conversion kit.”Vegetable oil gels at colder temperatures,” Danley said. So, as winter approaches, he will increase the percentage of thinning additives by as much as 50 percent. At that point, the cost of the blend may exceed the cost of petroleum-based diesel. If that happens, he may not produce the blend in the winter.Danley sells 1,200 to 1,600 gallons of filtered vegetable oil per week. Most of his customers use the fuel in their construction equipment, so he expects those sales numbers to drop off as construction slows for the winter.He also accepts waste vegetable oil from households, too. “After Thanksgiving, I get a lot of oil from people who have deep-fat turkey fryers.”Danley’s filtration process also generates waste products that could be used when mixed with animal feed.For more information on Diesel Max, see or call Danley at 866-300-7173.

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers