A group of students has started taking the same grease French fries are cooked in to create a cleaner fuel for diesel engines.
Diesel engines are built to last up to one million miles, so the students bringing biodiesel to the UW feel the fuel is the problem, said Wilhelm Welzenbach, a forestry graduate student.
Biodiesel operations at the UW were started a year ago by Welzenbach, Sean Smuckler, also a forestry graduate student, and professor Chuck Henry of the Sustainable Resource Sciences program. The individuals were inspired by a book called From the Fryer to the Fuel Tank, by Joshua Tickell.
The book tells a story of how Tickell and his girlfriend drive around the country in a van powered by biodiesel. Tickell also gives instructions for making biodiesel at home in a blender.
Biodiesel can be made from any sort of vegetable or plant oil. The graduate students running the operations at the UW collect most of their vegetable oil from local Japanese restaurants.