There are so many benefits to having your vehicle run on vegetable oil. Think about it: you could stop by the local gas station, fill up your truck's tank up with Wesson... and take a little extra dash for your salad! Or, we could all begin shopping for fuel at Safeway. Or, you could pop a batch of popcorn in your engine as you drive home in the evening!
Apparently, however, the visionaries behind the idea of converting diesel-burning engines to vegetable oil-fueled ones are more interested in the concept of renewable fuels.
On Saturday, Capra J'neva, a conceptual artist, will host a hands-on workshop instructing how to convert a diesel engine to run on vegetable oil. The idea isn't revolutionary, but a throwback to one of the original plans for engines created by Rudolf Diesel. The German inventor tried using vegetable oils to fuel his namesake engine 100 years ago.
In fact, you could probably run your current diesel engine on vegetable oils right now. The primary problem, however, is that oils extracted from sunflowers and hemp carry a higher viscosity. This means that they burn at a much higher temperature than gas; it also means that they may not completely burn off in the engine and would therefore, leave a gummy film that would gunk up your fuel lines and engine.
Currently, several companies sell kits that function as fuel converters. As long as there is enough room under the hood (you need a space just bigger than a bread box), most garages can install these kits. This workshop promises to show you how to install a converter, and how to build your own from scratch. During the course of the workshop, the class will convert a diesel Toyota pick-up truck to a vegetable oil burning machine.
If you don't have a vehicle to tinker with, the city is hosting its annual "fleet auction." On Wednesday, September 18, they will sell off extra and used cars, vans, and trucks. Expo Center, 2060 N Marine Drive, 5:30 inspection, 6:30-9:30 auction, free admission. PHIL BUSSE