Plastic Challenge 2017
July 19, 2017 – 11:17 am | 4 Comments

What is the challenge?
June 2017 was officially the Marine Conservation Society’s  ‘Plastic Challenge’ month.
This is the third year of the challenge, which encourages people to pledge to cut down the amount of single-use plastics they …

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Home » Members Blog

The ‘Chipmobile’

Submitted by on July 12, 2011 – 10:22 am4 Comments

If it’s good enough for the taxis in London then it’s good enough for my 1996 Volvo 850 Estate, now dubbed ‘the chip mobile’ by youngest son, Jude. For years I’ve been thinking I should start running my car on recyled waste vegetable frying oil and last week I finally took the plunge. So far there is no looking back, I’m into my second week now. I started with £20 worth from the local producer in Slathwaite, also home to our lovely customer the Green Valley Grocer and the supplier of our bread the handmade bakery.

£20 lasted me a week, returned about 40 MPG and the car seemed to like it, certainly looked good not pumping out any black smoke, instead gently wafting a faint smell of chips to the motorists behind. A few of us were musing about single variety oil and wondering if in the future you might be able to pick a flavour, Chinese or Indian perhaps?  The kids are a little bemused, still wondering how the same stuff that fries chips is now powering the car, but I’m sure that in ten years’ time they will look back at this and realise it was pretty radical. Obviously I can’t for legal reasons recommend this swap, but it’s certainly making me feel good (as a little disclaimer, if you do try this at home you may need to pay excise duty on your chip oil fuel, depending on how much you use). I need to replace the diesel filter every 1,000 miles or so and at £9 a time that’s not too bad, it offsets a chunk of the saving in price but still leaves a small saving and the huge plus, the environmental impact. I also love the second life aspect, that this stuff has been used already and also it’s another step along the road of not being tied to the big corporations and can now add this to my ever growing list of smaller local people getting my disposable income. In the last ten years I have given up on buying new clothes, not having a TV or landline telephone, swapped to a smaller bank, stopped shopping in supermarkets, given up smoking, stopped buying new tech stuff and associated software, sticking to second user instead, I’m also largely veggie now. So what next ? I guess white wine would be an obvious one, so where did I put those demijohns…..

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  • alex stappard says:

    Update – a few thousand miles on now and no problems, changed the fuel filter after a thousand miles and that was all ok, thanks Clive. Took the family to Filey for a week in the Summer and the car ran beautifully there and back and seemed super fuel efficient, much more so than previous years on regular mineral diesel. It really seemed to like the long journey better than the shorter ones. The guy making it tells me he now has some large truck customers, one buys £800 at a time, and most times i fill up there is another car or van doing the same so i suspect it’s getting more and more popular. The car sailed through it’s MOT this week so i imagine it passed it’s emissions test nicely and the motor engineer there, a well respected local guy did tell me to ‘put some regular diesel in’ every now and again, so i might put a few litres in over the winter months. So there you go, all well so far in the chipmobile………..

  • Claudio Patrucco says:

    Well, i would like to get in contact with the person who tried the fired oil on its Volvo wagon, since I would like to try it as well: is it possible to get in contact with him?

    Thanking you, kind regards Claudio Patrucco, Savona, Italy
    0039 19 7700311

  • alex stappard says:

    Hi Claudio

    What is it you need to know ? I don’t much about the science but the oil i use is waste sunflower oil fromt the takeaway/fast food industry in this country. Waste used oil in and then a filtered cleaned up and i think water removed product ends up in my tank. Not sure how you’d get on with extra virgin olive oil ? Is no one in Italy doing this ? sounds like a huge opportunity ? Let know what you need to know and i will try and find out.


  • Nigel Marsh says:

    Alex – you make it sound so easy, which it can be, but there are a number of pitfalls. Unmodified veg oil is too thick for most fuel pumps, especially in the winter [bosch pumps are better than lucas cav] It is possible to break the pump rotor. Also if the temperature drops after the filtering, more sediment can form to block the filter.
    But if it’s biodiesel [ask] then it will be thin enough, however it can attack rubber seals and pipes – a 1996 car may have resistant rubber bits – earlier vehicles usually didn’t. If it’s vegoil I wouldn’t go higher than 50% in winter and 65% in summer. A new injection pump isn’t cheap. To use 100% vegoil without problems you can fit a kit which preheats the oil to thin it, also starting/ warmup uses regular diesel from a second small tank, and before stopping it switches back to diesel to be ready for a cold start again.
    Also both vegoil and bio grow bacterial sludge,especially in warm weather. This completely blocked the pickup strainer in my fuel tank a few months back – towed home, fuel tank had to come off for access to clean it. Now I add a biocide [sold on ebay for the purpose]. Ask your supplier if he puts this in.
    Nigel Marsh

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