1983 - Volume #7, Issue #2, Page #09[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
He's Turning Animal Fat Into Low-Cost FuelHow about animal fat for an alternate car fuel? An Illinois man has proved that it works.
Robert Kuecher, operator of the Automotive Machine Shop in Palos Hills, did a lot of redesigning of the engine of his AMC Gremlin so it could run on an animal fat mixture. He then ran it in competition where it got 45.4 mpg.
The redesigned engine is a Waukesha pre-combustion diesel with modifications of the injector, fuel pump, and other parts. "So far, we have only made this work with a pre-combustion diesel engine," says Kuecher. "It won't work with a direct injection type of diesel engine."
"The fuel we use is called 'white grease' in the rendering trade. It's a mixture of beef tallow, lard and chicken fat ¨ waste products of the meat packing business. We get the refined product for about $1 a gallon from Kaluzny Bros. rendering company in Joliet, Ill."
Since animal fat is solid at low temperatures, the engine has to first be started on regular diesel fuel. By the time the engine is warmed to 140?, the animal fat is liquid and the engine switches over to use the fat for fuel.
"The engine's performance on animal fat is excellent," says Kuecher. "It runs quieter and smoother, though the heat value of fat is somewhat lower than diesel. And it has a nice smell of meat cooking."
Kuecher is confident the principle would apply to any truck or tractor as long as it is a pre-combustion diesel. He's currently working on using cheaper animal fat as fuel.
"We're experimenting with Šyellow grease' which is the fat recovered from restaurants and institutions. It's a mixture of animal and vegetable fats which now sells for 70 cents a gal. and is getting even cheaper," he says.
Kuecher is excited about the potential for animal fat as an alternate fuel, and so is the American Rendering Association which is doing a lot of research.
"It's a waste product that is increasing in supply every day." says Kuecher. "Using it for fuel would make use of a surplus by-product and also reduce our dependence on fossil fuels."
We'll keep you posted in future issues of FARM SHOW on any new developments.
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