Posts Tagged 'biodiesel'

Fundraising Q & A

We recently received this question in the form of a comment on our about page:

I am looking to start a non profit org. for alternative fuels. My goal is to travel cross country, in my dodge diesel towing a travel trailer, using only vegi oil from restaurants. I also want to educate and continue research in hydrogen fuel along the way. I am good with business and technical issues however, I am new to the fundraising/donation avenue and am looking for advice and where to start. I don’t have alot of money so I cannot affor to pay a fundrairser to do it for me.
Any help would be useful,
Thanks in advance,

It’s a great question and the cause definitely fits into what we do here. I started typing a response in the form of another comment, but decided it would fit even better as a post. Read on for the response…


While we are a fundraising company, we don’t specialize in the large scale corporate fundraising you are discussing. Some of the same things that we see work for our fundraising partners would probably translate to your project.

Getting the word out about what you are doing is the most important step. And speaking to people face to face about what you are doing, while not as fast as other methods, is the most effective way of doing that. Often you will find that if something is on your mind, it will naturally come up in your day to day conversations. Don’t discount emails and letters, though. They can also pique interest in your cause.

Coincidentally, a co-worker of ours is involved with a run across the U.S. called “Running America.” He became involved with the project through a chance encounter, decided he wanted to be involved, and worked towards that goal. He will be traveling with them across America and handing out our prepaid “one million cell phones” return envelopes.

That brings me to another technique; align yourself with a similar cause or event. There is power in numbers! Just like when our partners collect cell phones at football games, or even the example above, you could coordinate with a similar event or events across the U.S.  I would even encourage you to contact Running America to see if there is a way that you could get involved. They are also interested in being environmentally friendly with their cross-country trip.

Thanks for your question Nick!

Grease Car by Choix Du Jour

Trailer for a movie about a cross country trip in a veggie oil fueled 1981 Mercedes. Includes interviews with celebrities like Morgan Freeman, Yoko Ono, Tommy Chong, and Noam Chomsky.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Grease Car by Choix Du Jour“, posted with vodpod

The New Frontier in Biofuels

Algae? It’s green, it’s everywhere. New technologies are being developed to capture the oils that Algae naturally produce. This oil has already been proven able to be used as biodiesel. The only unknown is if this technology can be recreated on a large enough scale to be reliably used as a fuel.

Mcdonald’s Backs Biofuels in Britian

How’s that for alliteration? This is a little behind the times (well more than a little, the story broke over 7 months ago) but it’s great news none the less. As of this year, the Mcdonald’s fleet of trucks (lorries to those on the other side of the pond) in the UK will be using Mcdonald’s own used cooking oil as fuel. Mcdonald’s is often used as a punching bag by health advocates and is often seen as a symbol of what is wrong with American corporations, but this is certainly a step in the right direction. This action will prevent over 1,650 tons of carbon emissions and is an example of how a company can use take small steps towards becoming more sustainable. Here’s hoping they will bring this program to their home turf.


Like I said before, I have a soft spot for cars. I said in the Tesla Roadster post that I “have a weakness for a good looking car”. Well, that weakness also extends to innovative automobile technology. As an example, I became way too excited when I first saw the commercial of the Lexus that parks itself.

Where is this all going? Well, for some time now, individuals have been creating an alternative fuel derived from plant and animal based oils. This mainly grass-roots movement has been building steam to the point that companies are now blending it themselves and selling the stuff at pumps. This product is called Biodiesel.

Biodiesel can be used to describe a wide variety of fuels. It is occasionally even used in the broadest sense to describe alternative fuels such as methanol. More specifically it is used to describe vegetable oils that are chemically converted to be suitable for use in non-modified diesel engines. Straight vegetable oils (SVO) or Waste Vegetable Oils (WVO) are distinguished from Biodiesel because they are unconverted. They are simply filtered to remove engine damaging particles. SVO and WVO are also different in that they are usually only run in engines or fuel systems that are converted to be able to handle the unique characteristics of unmodified vegetable oils.

Biodiesel uses oils from a wide range of plants to create fuel for vehicles. These include corn, rapeseed, soy, and even algae. This fuels produces far fewer toxins overall when burned. It lowers carbon monoxide, and aromatic hydrocarbons despite the fact that it produces more nitrogen oxide. And since the fuel is produced from plants that use carbon dioxide for growth, the fuel is carbon neutral.

Biodiesel is rated according to the amount that it is blended with regular diesel fuel. For instance a B20 blend would be 20 percent Biodiesel and 80 percent regular diesel fuel. The biodiesel pumps in our area pump B20 exclusively.

Like I said before, Biodiesel is becoming more and more mainstream. Even Willie Nelson has thrown his hat into the ring with “Willie Fuel“. Because of this, and also because diesel is naturally more efficient, diesel passenger cars have become more popular and are commanding higher prices. Volkswagen dealerships are able to sell cars sight unseen at sticker price. To compound the problem, Volkswagen is halting production of their diesel engines for a year to revamp the design to meet higher diesel environmental standards. Even used Volkswagen diesel trucks and rabbits from the 80’s are commanding impressive prices on ebay.

Biodiesel seems to be one of those solutions that address many problems without producing many complaints. I hope that Biodiesel usage expands.