Chinese takeaway biodiesel man in garage explosion horror
Out of the frying pan into the fireball
A Northamptonshire man destroyed his garage and badly injured himself at the weekend while attempting to make biodiesel from used cooking oil. A devastating explosion levelled the makeshift reprocessing plant on Saturday afternoon, when sparks from an electric drill being used to mix ingredients ignited explosive vapours.
Firemen hastened to deal with the smoking wreckage, in Middleton Cheney, and the unnamed thrifty motorist was airlifted to hospital with 20 per cent burns.
"Firefighters would like to urge members of the public to take extreme caution if undertaking such chemical mixtures in their own homes," said a statement from the Oxfordshire fire brigade, quoted by the BBC.
The injured biodiesel fancier reportedly made motor fuel from used cooking oil obtained from his local Chinese takeaway. Such oil can often be used in diesel vehicles without preparation, but this will typically knacker the engine in short order. It is normal to treat the oil with alcohol and other ingredients before use, and this process was apparently underway when the mishap occurred.
The explosion would most probably have been caused initially by alcohol fumes building up in the garage, a process likely enhanced by the hot weather this weekend. Open-air - or at least better-ventilated - biodiesel manufacture might have been wiser.
Home biofuel making is legal and tax-free to the amount of 2,500 litres per annum. With so much of the pump price of fuel being duty, such an effort is becoming more and more worthwhile to motorists as fuel costs soar. Quite apart from the risk of a devastating garage or garden-shed explosion, however - and the chance of then being mistaken for a terrorist - care is needed to avoid engine damage. ®
His first thought, "There's room for improvement".
Used cooking oil for fuel....
I can have a lot more fun with one liter of oil than a few kays of driving.
Throwing away feedstock is throwing away money.
A friend owns several McDonalds Hamburger joints. His used oil is collected and recycled into fuel. The guy that delivers his oil also collects the used oil, and runs his trucks on it.
This got me to thinking about food waste in general, the big downside of alcohol production is that it diverts agricultural products from the food chain.
If veggie and fruit restaurant waste were collected systematically, they could be used as feedstock for fermentation. I am thinking there are millions of pounds stuffed into landfills every day.
Jonathin thanks for the bit about lubrication, it makes sense. but the tax man is still there to check the gasoline mixer-inner carefully.
Paris... Tonight is the night for her shoe party.
Stop with the knee jerking, please
There are a LOT of home biodiesel producers out there, both in the UK and the US. Yet, one guy blows up his garage and suddenly people are talking about the "HORRIBLE DANGERS OF AMATEURS OH NOES THEY ARE GOING TO KILL US ALL!!!" totally ignoring the number of idiots who manage to blow themselves up doing stupid things like cleaning parts with petrol, smoking in stupid places, and looking for gas leaks with a lit match(!!!). Fact is, stupid DIYers blow themselves up on an infrequent, yet regular, basis. Don't ruin things for everyone else due to a few Darwin Award contenders.