Turning Dirt into Diesel  {Whole Life Times}

Hugely popular in Europe, biodiesel is more common than SVO among local green transportation connoisseurs because of its ease of use and controlled, ultra-low emissions. Currently only two gas stations in LA sell biodiesel at the pump (see chart), which can be inconvenient, but more are expected soon. Any diesel engine car can run on biodiesel, without conversion, but regular diesel fuel can still be used in a pinch (a bonus on long road trips). Homebrewing biodiesel is also an option. The Dervaes, a Pasadena-based urban homesteading family, craft their own biodiesel for under a dollar a gallon. “My [young adult] son Justin brews 30 to 40 gallons at a time in an old waterheater in the garage,” patriarch Jules Dervaes said. “It’s the American thing to do, to have a gas station in your garage.” The process starts with straight vegetable oil, to which lye and racing methanol are added to create a less viscous oil, biodiesel, and the byproduct glycerin. (WLT ran a brew your own biodiesel breakdown last February, archived on our website Readymade homebrewing systems are also available for those who don’t want to build one from scratch. The Dervaes deliver their organic heirloom tomatoes and salad greens to upscale area restaurants in a sleek, homebrew-powered Chevy Suburban. One of their customers supplies the vegetable oil needed for homebrewing, completing the carbon-neutral cycle.
—Katie Winchell
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[Note: as we often keep having to remind people since sometimes statements are taken out of context, we believe that biodiesel made from vegetable oil (and even SVO) is only a temporary, band-aid solution – biodiesel is not THE solution to the world’s addiction to oil. However, it is something that can easily be done here and now. We pride ourselves on our DIY war of independence and it’s only American and patriotic that we do what we can right now with what we have where we are.

WHAT COUNTS? The Price of Oil {Whole Life Times}

10,000 If this many people stopped buying bottled water for one year, enough oil would be saved to fuel four cars for that entire year.
10,000 If this many people chose just one locally-grown apple instead of an apple shipped across the country, the oil saved could fill the gas tanks of 19 Hummers.
10,000 If this many households replaced only one box each of 48-oz petroleum-based powder laundry detergent with a vegetable-based product, enough oil would be saved to heat and cool a two-bedroom apartment for a year.
10,000 If this many mothers chose to keep their baby in a non-disposable diaper over a disposable diaper just once, they’d save enough oil to fill three Olympic-sized swimming pools.
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