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AFCEE contractor goes green with grease

  • Published
  • By Jennifer Schneider
  • AFCEE Public Affairs
Rising fuel costs led one Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment contractor here to go from the fuel tank to the fryer.

Leonard Hardy, an AFCEE contractor who supports the information technology branch, has been using a used vegetable oil blend to run his diesel truck for more than six years and said he is pleased with the results.

"It's a great way, environmentally speaking, to get rid of the used vegetable oil, and the fuel burns much cleaner than diesel fuel, so harmful emissions are reduced considerably," Hardy said. "It's a win-win situation."

Hardy first came up with the idea when the price for diesel fuel spiked.

"I purchased my diesel truck when diesel fuel cost about 30 cents less per gallon than gasoline," he said. "I thought it was a smart decision. About six months later, diesel fuel prices jumped up 20 to 30 cents higher than gasoline. I went from making a smart purchase to making a bad mistake."

Hardy said he remembered reading articles on creating fuel from vegetable oil and decided to do some additional research. Internet searches led him to a site detailing a simple process using vegetable oil, locally purchased additives and an additive bought online.

He said the process required no modifications to his vehicle and cost around $200 for a mixing tank and associated pumps and filters. Now, filling up his vehicle typically takes about 30 minutes.

He has driven more than 100,000 miles in the vehicle and said the only problem he encountered was when he tried using the fuel without the additive.

"I quickly learned that a small amount of additive makes a big difference and have had no trouble since," he said.

Hardy said he gets his vegetable oil supply from a local Chinese restaurant, as well as from friends, neighbors and people from his church.

"It's nice that they do that for me and I give them a conscious-free way to get rid of their unwanted vegetable oil," he said.