Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) - Frequently Asked Questions
of trouble-free motoring on veg oil since converting on 18th June 2008
Is there a difference between Virgin (shop bought) Veg Oil and Waste Veg Oil (WVO)?
As long as your WVO has been properly cleaned / filtered, there's no difference as far as your engine is concerned. It will run just as well on WVO as it will on virgin oil.
Where can I get WVO locally?
It's getting harder to find Waste Veg Oil as more people are looking for it, but be persistent and invest time. I'd ignore the big companies (McDonalds, KFC, etc) as they'll already have outlets in place for their WVO, as will the big brewery chains and hotels. However local independent pubs, local restaurants, independent hotels, care homes, recreation centre's, etc, are all worth a phone call.
My WVO is cloudy. Is it okay to use?
Cloudy WVO is usually dirty WVO. It's cloudy because fats and water are all mixed up within the oil. Let it settle to separate the fats and water and it will become clearer. After fine filtering, it's then ready to use.
What's the best way to filter WVO?
This is one of those questions that's not easy to answer. There are a variety of techniques varying in complexity and cost. I'd recommend read my page dedicated to the subject - HERE.
Why filter WVO?
WVO is usually full of all manner of debris that will ruin your engine including fats, water, food chunks and anything else that got tossed in the waste (like cigarette butts). If you don't filter this junk out, you could kill your engine. Filter your WVO and avoid hefty repair bills. This story might help you.
What Is Settling?
Throughout this site you'll hear me talking about settling. It's fundamental to most of my filtering technique and involves allowing the content of the oil to separate and settle. I made a YouTube Video on the subject that you may find helpful. To view it, click here.
Is darker / lighter WVO okay to use?
The colour of the WVO is fairly irrelevant. Usually it's darker than shop bought veg oil and the colour variance is largely due to how much cooking has taken place and what's been cooked. As long as it's well filtered, it will be fine to use.
Why filter WVO in stages?
If you take your WVO and pour it straight into a 1 micron filter sock, it will clog in seconds. There will be loads of good quality oil trapped inside the clogged filter that just can't get out. Filtering in stages avoids this issue. Gradually reduce your filter stages, getting finer and finer until you're left with something your engine will be happy with.
Shall I heat the WVO?
Some folks heat their WVO to remove water and help it pass more easily through filters. I don't. There's two main reasons for this.
1) Heated oil will break down fats and pass through filters more easily, yes, but afterwards it will cool down and the fats congeal again. So you've still got fats it your oil.
2) I strive for a green approach and using electricity or gas to heat oil not only costs money but invariably uses fossil fuels.
Keep it simple. It will settle all on it's own in just a few weeks - no heat and no energy required.
Is the filtering process messy?
Yes. Whichever way you dress it up, it's a smelly, sticky, slimy process. You'll spill it, get it on your clothes, skin, etc. Some WVO can smell pretty nasty (depending on the source) and sludge is a constant problem. You're dealing with a waste product, so it's not the nicest of jobs, but eventually you'll get into your own routine and learn how to minimise the mess. I've created a page entitle WVO - Cleaning Up After Yourself which you may find useful.
Does the filtering process take up much space?
Yes, a fair bit. My two tanks are 220ltrs and measure roughly 2 foot x 4 foot each. Plus you'll always need to have containers nearby to move the oil from one spot to another, etc. Basically I have a small garden shed and whilst it's a squeeze, I can manage (though I often wish I had a larger shed!).
What A Micron?
A micron is another way of saying micrometre which is one-millionth of a metre. When relating to filters, microns represent the size of the "holes" in the filter media. Think of a sieve. The bigger the holes in the sieve, the larger the items that can pass through it. So again, in terms of filters, bigger means less filtering, smaller means more filters, thus 100 microns filters quite roughly whereas 1 micron is a very fine degree of filtering. More about microns here.
Is your filter set up the best one?
Currently I'm displaying two possible filter set ups on this website and no doubt they are far from perfect. I'm sure there's MANY better examples on the net. I believe my set ups are EASY and fairly CHEAP, and that for me is enough.
Isn't Centrifugal Filtering better than your settling methods?
One way to think of centrifugal filtering is like settling-on-steroids. Settling lets gravity push the unwanted solids to the bottom. That in theory is what centrifugal spinning achieves. The problem with this method is that it's very expensive to set up, typically in excess of £500. I have produced a YouTube Video on the subject which you may find helpful.
What happens in Winter?
Vegtable oil thickens in colder temperatures making driving on veg oil awkward. WVO seems to suffer more than virgin oil. The solution is to thin the oil by adding ordinary diesel, typically in the ratio of between 25% and 50%. This YouTube Video may help.
Do you sell your WVO?
I sometimes have a little surplus waste vegetable oil (WVO) cluttering up my garage which I'm happy to sell on to others who are willing to collect from Wolverhampton. Click here for more details.
Can you recommend other sellers of WVO in other areas?
Sorry, I don't know of any. I don't sell WVO professionally. I occasionally have a little surplus, that's all, so I'm afraid I have no knowledge of other purveyors of WVO in any other location. Try looking on eBay.
Can I send a donation?
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If you have a question that's not listed here, please contact me and I'll be happy to try and help.