When we asked, Brett Sawchak, CU Biodiesel outreach director, if he thought vegetable oil biodiesel-fueled cars smell like French fries, he replied, “Biodiesel does have a distinct smell to it. Some say it smells like French fries, I think it smells like cardboard.” Whether you are a critic or a fan of biodiesel, you cannot deny its intrigue. Sawchak helped us get down-and-dirty with biodiesel; a fuel that, as the folks at CU Biodiesel say, “is less toxic than table salt and more biodegradable than sugar!”
What’s the best part of using biodiesel?
“Biodiesel is the most clear-cut, amazing fuel that I have come across. The fuel is extremely versatile, and the fact that it can be derived from a waste product, such as waste vegetable oil (WVO) or kitchen grease, is a great model for how our waste is energy. One of my favorite aspects of biodiesel is that it can be made domestically, in town or in a home, without overseas travels or war (politics aside).”
What’s the most difficult part of using biodiesel?
“The politics: Biodiesel is a proven alternative fuel and is available here and now. The technology has been used and praised for quite some time; however, stigmas and policy still stand in the way of making the fuel easily accessible and affordable to the general public. In the last half decade, WVO has gone from being a waste product to a valuable commodity (one gallon yellow grease is now worth more than $1). This has lead to strong competition as well as corruption in the grease collection business. It is important for both restaurants and the public to know where that yellow grease goes. Some claim to make fuel and don’t. Know who
you do business with.”
What is CU Biodiesel?
“CU Biodiesel is a non-profit student organization dedicated to advancing the use and knowledge of biodiesel, a vegetable based and clean-burning alternative to petroleum diesel. …We address the commonly held concern that the use of petroleum diesel is done at the detriment of our health and environment and necessitates a dependence on foreign oil. Our group hosts monthly workshops on campus, open to all those interested, students and non. We also host presentations at local schools upon request.”