Converting a Car to Biodiesel

A car running on biodiesel can save a lot of gas for its owner. Not only that, but this alternative fuel emits less carbon dioxide, making it more environmentally friendly than an engine which runs on conventional fossil fuel.

A regular car, running with a diesel engine, can run on biodiesel, which is a non-petroleum based type of diesel. This fuel type is sold by various pumping stations in a blend.

But did you know that you can convert your diesel car to run on “Straight Vegetable Oil” or “SVO?”

What is SVO?

SVO is something you can find right in your kitchen.  It can be made from a number of vegetables, such as corn, soy, hemp, palm, or hemp.  If you want to help make the world a cleaner place for future generations, you can convert your diesel car to run on biodiesel.

Running on SVO can be expensive if you buy your oil off the counter.  What some people do is ask local restaurants to purchase their used vegetable oil.  Don’t settle for a single source.  If you have multiple sources, you’ll have plenty in reserve, and won’t run out of fuel for your car.

Before you can use the SVO on a converted car, you have to filter the waste vegetable oil you’ve collected.  One of the simplest ways to do this is to heat the oil, and pour it into a strainer or coffee filter.  The important thing is to get rid of the solid food particles in the oil, before you load it into the SVO tank.

Get a Conversion Kit

You will need  to procure a conversion kit for your diesel car if you want it to run on exclusively on SVO.  Shop around, and search through a number of online biodiesel communities.  They can help you find where to buy one.  Prices can vary, for the equipment and the labor.  Also, make sure that the kit is compatible with the make and model of your car.

You could find a mechanic to install the kit for you, but you can also save a couple of dollars if you install on your own.  Most conversion kits come with instructions that are easy to follow.

There are three typical modifications that are required, for converting your car to biodiesel.  These are SVO Fuel Tank, Hose/Seal overhaul for the fuel system, and modification of the heating system.

Running your car on biodiesel can help you save money in the long run.  This is one way of not just helping yourself, but your environment as well.

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25 Responses to “Converting a Car to Biodiesel”

  1. Nick@hydronic heating June 15, 2009 at 12:58 pm #

    Great information! I was always curious how people got the svo for their biodeisel car. Never really occurred to me that their are probably a lot of business owners that would give it away or sell cheap considering they need to get rid of it anyways.

    • Anna July 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm #

      @Nick – yes, that factor does help. Considering that these businesses (and restaurants) would have to spend both time and money to dispose of the oil.

  2. Max@Toyota Parts June 25, 2009 at 11:51 am #

    This has always fascinated me. The band mewithoutYou’s tour bus runs off vegetable oil, and ever since I found that out I’ve wanted to do it to my car. This post explained it more to me, so thanks.

    • Anna July 30, 2009 at 4:17 pm #

      @Max – you are welcome. I am sure you could do it with your car if you set aside the time and do a bit of research! Let me know if you need further help on this – best of luck!

  3. David Howell June 26, 2009 at 11:49 am #

    been running two cars for 6 months on pure bio diesel that i make myself no problems apart from a one off fuel filter blockage due to bio diesel cleaning the old regular diesel gunk out of system now running my car very cheaply and cleanly ,Dave

    • Anna July 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm #

      @David Howell Thanks for your feedback! It’s great to hear how it has worked out from someone who has been using this technology. Excellent that it is working out for you.

  4. Matt August 14, 2009 at 3:26 am #

    What a great idea, and one that we could all implement without too much hastle. though I think we would need a more secure source of the fuel itself, I mean I can’t really go round all the neighbors and ask them for their kitchen scraps and then filter it and strain it, every time I need to fill up. It would make nipping out and picking up the kids a bit of a nightmare if I broke down too! I hope it catches on though, and some enterprising soul comes up with a way of making it more available.

  5. Ted@Joliet Car Dealerships August 23, 2009 at 7:56 pm #

    I was wondering what SVO was. Thanks.

  6. Car PC Gadgets September 9, 2009 at 8:18 pm #

    Great article, How long the car can go per litre, and is there any difference in ride comfort.

  7. Hemp-Oil-Taylor September 11, 2009 at 12:29 am #

    That is a very great idea. Most of it have been already been implemented by many innovators today. It’s good to know that after using an oil for cooking you can still use it to run your car. Isn’t that great. It could save us money from these expensive gasolines.

  8. Thomas October 4, 2009 at 3:10 pm #

    Its funny how a couple of years ago, Old Mercedes Diesels were considered gross polluters and could be bought for a reasonable price. Now with these cars becoming the best candidates for biodiesel, these cars are now becoming more valuable!

  9. Jack Thornleigh@car insurance quotes November 12, 2009 at 5:00 am #

    This may well be the future for fueling vehicles. if only they could make it more practical and affordable for people to have these choices. It seems that no matter what comes onto the market as a good source of competition for regular fuel, it seems to be very expensive to use or convert over to. I guess thau oil is such a huge money making business as it goes down the line that so many would not like to see it go out of use too much.

  10. Bari load cells November 13, 2009 at 2:55 am #

    One question that individuals have when considering biodiesel is whether or not their warranty might be voided if they use biodiesel. The answer to this question is that it depends. As the biodiesel industry gains more respect, individuals, car companies and the government, are encouraging the use of this type of fuel and subsequently, many warranties will cover cars that have problems even if they are due to the use of biodiesel fuel. Fore example, Volkswagen and Mercedes are two car brands, who warranties do not exclude the use of biodiesel. To be sure, one simply needs to take a look at their warranty.
    .-= Bari load cells´s last blog ..How Load Cells were Invented? =-.

  11. Tonneau Cover December 8, 2009 at 10:22 pm #

    Bio-diesel are the effective things on reducing global warming. SVO can be very much new thing to me. Can I get to Know more about the SVO, like full procedure and cheap making of SVO. You can mail me if you can. Thank you for the great information.

  12. Chuck February 6, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

    Personally I am not an advocate of SVO. However, I am a strong advocate of Biodiersel. The SVO isn’t as clean as I would like and the cold weather start can be a problem. I think the SVO kits do provide a way to start on regular diesel and then switch to SVO.

    • Anna February 8, 2010 at 12:16 pm #

      @Chuck – Thanks for your input on that. Some good points you bring up. Do you have more information on the reason for the cold-weather start-up problems?

  13. antra@maruti a star February 23, 2010 at 11:49 am #

    Nice & informative article Anna.I also hope that bio-diesel picks up in India coz its an efficient way to curb pollution.It needs to be cheaper & machine friendly.

    The newly announced Hybrid cars are newer in India ..N expensive too..

  14. Chuck @Diesel Cars For Sale February 23, 2010 at 9:52 pm #

    Hi Anna,
    The SVO Straight veg Oil is very thick compared to biodiesel or petro diesel. Up to 10 or more times more viscous. This causes atomization problems. Also the chemical properties are different so the ignition temp is different.

  15. Scrap Car March 2, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    What a fantastic idea, bio-diesel is great on your pocket and great for the environment, I hope this idea kicks off in a big way in the future, fingers crossed

  16. simon @ free srap car collection london May 31, 2010 at 7:52 am #

    hi I think that using bio has a lot of advantages with price and greener cars on the road what a good idea wish this was the case for all cars
    simon

  17. city nissan July 28, 2010 at 1:28 am #

    We can save lot of fuel by doing this conversion. Good idea.

  18. Roger October 3, 2010 at 2:51 pm #

    I know a bus company in berkshire that only uses bio deisel and it works for them great idea

  19. shreyas goswami February 21, 2011 at 3:54 am #

    Finding the perfect car isn’t always easy, whether its for your family, your fiancée or for fun! Whether you want a reliable runaround, a greener car with

    low emissions and low tax, or comfort for those long journeys.

  20. bats February 23, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    Biodiesel maybe is the future gas

  21. Idan Dayan February 28, 2011 at 4:02 am #

    Maybe in the future, we will plant in our backyard the useful vegetables, such as corn, soy, hemp, palm, or hemp. To make our backyard useful, and saving money and and environment as as well. Thank, this idea really helps me a lot.

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