Helping Farmers Turn Vegetable Oil into Fuel

Farm Diagram

The two-day workshop at an organic farm near Sarasota was sponsored by Florida A&M University's Small Farm Program.

Bio-diesel is not to be confused with ethanol, which distills alcohol based fuel from corn or sugar. Bio-diesel starts with vegetable oil and Matt Rudolf of Piedmont Biofuels says converting it into diesel is a simple process.

RUDOLF: You use vegetable oil, you run it through a chemical reaction, it comes out the other side, there's a cleansing process, filtration and then you can put it in any type of diesel motor.

That includes farm tractors, trucks and even the family car if it has a diesel engine. The workshops demonstrate how the process works and teaches participants how to build their own bio-diesel processors. FAMU's agricultural engineers say bio-diesel can be a cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative to standard diesel fuel.

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