How I Got Into Biodiesel

If the truth be known, the whole reason I’m even involved in Biodiesel is because of this picture below…

Yep. You saw right! A Chevrolet Diesel Chevette!

In the early 1980’s GM, along with a host of other auto producers made and sold diesel powered vehicles. Some good, some bad, and then some….well….probably shouldn’t have ever been made, but I’ll save that story for another day.

Anyway, Chevy produced Chevettes (commonly called Shove-ettes or even worse SH__-ettes) with diesel engines. The engine was sourced from Isuzu (because GM can’t seem to build a decent small diesel engine themselves) and was fitted to these tiny cars.

1982 Chevy Chevette DieselMy dad, being the Isuzu lover that he is (see previous post on diesels) ran across one of these ugly beasts & for $100 cold cash picked it up. The thing was hideous! My mom hated it! I thought it was just ugly, but my dad thought it was cool (it really did look like crap..holes in the floor, faded paint, head liner falling, lots of problems…).

1982 Chevy Chevette DieselSo, he somehow convinced my mom to let him drag it home and there it sat in his driveway….for a LONG, LONG time….as in sitting, not registered or anything…just sat there.

Well, being the diesel nut I am & wondering if there was anything on the web about them I went digging. I ran across a site of diesel chevette enthusiasts (whodathunk?) and quickly realized that that ugly hunk-o-junk sittin’ in my dads driveway may be quite the little car. Turns out it’s the lightest US Made Rear Wheel Drive vehicle ever produced. Also turns out that the diesel engine in them is quite a trooper (his still ran, it just was the rest of the car that was hideous).

So, I dug a little more and ran across a website about a guy that ran his diesel Chevette halfway across the country on –get this–Waste Vegetable Oil! I thought, “Yeah right, what’s he smokin?” And that’s when the real research began.

Over a period of weeks I read up on how diesel engines can indeed run on organic oils and that it didn’t really take much to make it work. Well, owning the old diesel truck, I really didn’t want to spend a chunk-o-change on the thing converting it to run on waste veggie oil (one wreck & kiss all that hard work GOOD-BYE!) so I kept digging and ran across a website on something called–yep, you guessed it–BIODIESEL!!!

The website was none other than the famous Biodiesel Now website. I quickly read everything I could get my hands on, read through all the posts as much as I could, and quickly realized that this was really, really cool!

I got ahold of a guy in Utah named Jack Jones via the Utah Section of Biodiesel Now and asked if the stuff was for real. He said it was and after getting up enough courage to give it a try, I finally made the journey out to Jacks place & threw 5 gallons of the stuff in my truck (yeah, I was a little skeptical at first & figured 5 gallons couldn’t hurt the thing TOOO bad…

1984 Isuzu Diesel PickupWell, I got in my truck & headed home. About 20 minutes into the drive I noticed something sounding different under the hood. It was quieter! I thought, “Ok…I wonder if something fell off up there?” and then it hit me like a ton of bricks! THIS STUFF REALLY WORKS!!!!

I can remember exactly where I was on the freeway & everything. In the back of my mind I remember that one of the side effects of using the fuel was that the engine got quieter. Well, that was part of it that hooked me.

It was getting somewhat cold in Utah and the tags on my truck were about ready to expire…so, that meant a friendly visit to the County Emissions Shop and Inspection Facility (or as I call it, the County “We Take Your Money & Find Something Wrong With Your Car” Department (I think they’re motto is….”If we can’t find something broken, we’ll BREAK something just to make sure something IS broken”.

A sign there reads:
“Arguing with a government inspector
is like wrestling with a pig.
In the end, you both get dirty,
but you soon realize….
The Pig Enjoys It!”
(Ok, don’t get me started on the analogy between them & pigs…suffice it to say, it was THEIR sign…)

So I take the truck down, all proud of the fact I’ve got this bio stuff in it & get it inspected.
AND THEN MY MOUTH HIT THE FLOOR!!!

The truck not only passed, but…out came the calculator….the biodiesel stuff reduced it’s emissions by nearly 90%!!!! THAT’S JUST AMAZING!!!

Here’s a link to my results: Click Here
I thought it was so amazing that I documented it. In my hands I had proof…no…Government Certified Proof that the stuff was bonified!!!

I was 100% Totally Sold!

And, well, that was the beginning to my interest and participation in Biodiesel….

Since that time I’ve become involved with several projects, organizations, online forums, and other crazy things including starting a business based around selling Biodiesel Supplies online because I found it such a pain to find them when I went looking.

Here’s a few of the things I work with:
Utah Biodiesel Cooperative – I helped create and found this organization
Utah Clean Cities – I participate in an advisory group with this group
Utah Biodiesel Supply – My online business
Biodiesel Community – An online website that freely shares how to make biodiesel. I helped create this great resource and participate in helping it grow. I also have a few articles that I wrote that are published here.

I also participate in several online biodiesel forums:
InfoPop Biodiesel – This one’s my favorite and you’ll see me posting here quite a lot
Biodieselnow – This is the one I originally learned about biodiesel in
Biodiesel Basics – This is a Yahoo group I participate here and even help moderate.
Biodiesel – This is another Yahoo group that I participate in
Utah Biodiesel – I created this Yahoo group as a place for people in Utah interested in Biodiesel could post to.
Local B100 Biz – This Yahoo Group is populated w/ folks interested in the business aspect of biodiesel. I participate here and also help moderate here as well.

I participate most actively at the InfoPop group because I think it has the most educated and well established group of home brewers around. Plus, the folks there are just really smart and great to work with.

All in all, my adventure into biodiesel has been the thrill of a lifetime. Not only has it become one heck of a fun hobby, but it’s become something of a business enterprise for me as well….one that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed!

And so, well, there it is…a little bit about how I got into biodiesel and why I stay with it.
It’s just so much fun! If you’re just getting started, read up and enjoy! It’s a rush!

-Graydon
The Rabid Biodiesel Nut

About Utah Biodiesel Supply

Utah Biodiesel Supply is an industry leader in offering innovative ways to empower our customers to produce Biodiesel. From free online instructional videos on how to get started making this great renewable fuel to promotional items to help our customers proclaim their energy independence, Utah Biodiesel Supply has it covered. With the widest selection available of Biodiesel equipment, supplies, and promotional items, you're sure to learn something new about Biodiesel every time you visit.

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