Instead of clogging drains and hurting waste water treatment plants, what if your used cooking oil could power your car? A new device called the BioBot 20 tabletop diesel processor promised to make it easy to recycle cooking oil and convert it into biodiesel, right inside your home.
Biodiesel, as many readers will know, can be derived from waste vegetable oils and – depending on how it is made – can be close to carbon-neutral. Worldwide, there are about 20 billion liters (about 5.28 billion gallons) of biodiesel made every year, and the potential is there to increase that fivefold without diverting any oil away from food preparation. This is especially true for biofuel made from waste oil, and the makers of the BioBot 20 say it has the capacity to produce 20 liters (about 5.28 gallons) per batch. The reaction chamber is filled with used vegetable oil and then heated to a designated temperature. During that process, the oil is agitated with a built-in, hand-operated mixer. How nice and green that it doesn't use an electric motor. When it's done, the biodiesel needs to be tested for quality with a provided kit. (See the video below to learn how all of it works.)
Waste cooking oil is usually free. There will be some expenses for the methanol and sodium hydroxide needed to processed the biodiesel in the BB20, but the overall cost should be about $1 per gallon. The BB20 product sells for 415 British pounds, or about $655. So it would take a while to break even and save money for diesel vehicle drivers, but not all that long if you've got a reliable source of waste oil. Onion rings, anyone?