Can you make your own fuel? An Ashburn man did - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Can you make your own fuel? An Ashburn man did

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May 15, 2008

Ashburn--  How would you like to fill up your gas tank for 78¢ a gallon, without ever having to go to a gas station?

It's possible with bio-diesel. You can actually turn cooking grease into fuel.

With a few chemicals and a whole lot of used fish grease, Dr. Alec Katz has made enough fuel to power his two trucks and a tractor for the past three months.

Every time Alec Katz cranks up his diesel truck, he could care less about he price of fuel.

The Ashburn veterinarian uses cooking grease he gets from a local restaurant to make fuel.

"It started with oil prices, diesel at $4.39 a gallon is how it started really," said Katz.

So, desperate times called for desperate measures, he got the idea from a client.

"One of my clients was doing it and he kept trying to get me to do it and I decided I was going to do it."

Katz invested in a bio-diesel kit and bought a holding tank for the finished product.

Before it's usable the cooking grease has to be filtered and processed.

"You can make sixty gallons at a time, then you take your methonol, that's what you use to change the oil into diesel, take the methonol and sodium hydroxide which is lye you mix it in this for 30 minutes," Katz explained.

After 30 minutes that mixture then sits in the main tank for eight to twelve hours until it separates, leaving lye soap as a byproduct.

He said it's great for the environment.

"You know what's good about this it cuts emissions by like 75%, it's cleaner than regular diesel."

At 78¢ a gallon Katz is laughing all the way to be bank counting all the money he has saved.

"It's about the same mileage, they say it's a 3-percent loss in power, but I can't tell it. I pull trailers and stuff with it and it's fine the engine actually runs quieter," said Katz.

When the entire process is finished the bio diesel goes through a titration test before it's pumped into a holding tank and is ready to be used.

He now has his own personal gas station and a money-saving process he may need to pass down to his young son William if oil prices continue to climb.

According to Triple-A at today's prices it would cost him $155 to fill up his tank.

Katz invested about $4,000 for for his kit and holding tank. He expects it to pay for itself within the next three months.


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