Ponizej artykul z wczorajszego kanadyjskiego dziennika "Toronto Sun"
Canola oil znaczy olej rzepakowy :
Nov. 29, 2003. 01:00 AM
Canola oil's well that ends well
Diesel Jetta converted to run on free fuel from the local chip wagon
Firefighter commutes into Toronto
in peppy car pow
SPECIAL TO THE STAR
Darrick Thompson just has to smile every time he drives past a chip wagon.
It's not crispy french fries that make his mouth water — just that lovely
Canola oil they're cooked in.
The 42-year-old Toronto firefighter has converted his 1992 Volkswagen Jetta
diesel car to run on Canola oil, and a chip wagon simply spells more free
"I've just found a guy in Belleville with a fleet of five chip wagons and
he's been paying to get rid of his used cooking oil," Thompson says with
barely restrained excitement. "Now he's letting me have it all for free."
A 760-litre gravity feed storage tank Thompson's building will siphon off all
the charred remains of fries and feed the oil through a filter, rendering it
A1 for use in his Jetta.
This is not small potatoes. Right now Thompson is buying his Sunspun cooking
grade Canola oil at the supermarket in 15-litre buckets. That works out to
$1.20 a litre, or about double the cost of diesel.
Thompson doesn't mind this added expense because he sees it as his
contribution to protecting the environment.
"Canola oil is a renewable resource, oil is not," he says. "Anyway, the
engine runs much smoother on Canola oil than diesel and there are no clouds
of black smoke pouring out of the exhaust into the cars behind me.
"With Canola oil, the exhaust smoke is almost whitish and it kind of smells
like someone's having a barbecue."
The firefighter sheepishly admits that his mates at the firehall think
he's "a bit of a wacko." But he had the last laugh when the Big Blackout shut
down every gas station while his Jetta "kept on cooking" with its veggie oil
A sticker emblazoned on his driving door trumpets the message: "Powered by
straight vegetable oil. Renewable. Sulfur-free. Reduces diesel emissions.
Energy dense. C02 neutral. Creates jobs, recycles. Supports Agriculture."
Thompson has been driving his Canola-powered car on the commute to work since
July, logging 10,000 km without so much as a whiff of trouble.
He makes twice-weekly round-trips of 350 km from his country home just north
of the Big Apple at Colborne to the firehall at Bloor St. East and
Sherbourne. He works four days on, four days off. And stays in town for two
The firefighter bought the shabby Jetta for the princely sum of $2,000 in the
summer and set to work converting it to run on a dual fuel supply.
Thompson had been looking for alternative and cleaner power sources in his
vehicles. An experiment with a propane-powered van didn't pan out because of
recurring leaks from the propane fuel tank. The van sealed the deal when it
died suddenly at the roadside.
"I thought about diesel because I knew it was cheap to run, but I knew it was
a dirty fuel," Thompson said. "Then I found out on the Web that Rudolf Diesel
invented the first diesel engine to run on peanut oil. That really surprised
The peanut oil-powered diesel unit was unveiled by the French inventor at the
World Exhibition in Paris in 1900, a testament to Diesel's well-known social
But before he could shepherd this vision to worldwide acceptance, Diesel
died. One conspiracy theory has the inventor being assassinated by a French
hit squad while travelling by ship to England. He planned to help convert the
British submarine fleet to diesel (the French had the only diesel sub fleet
in Europe and wanted to keep their edge). Poor Rudolf's body was found
floating in the English Channel a few days later.
Within seven years, the petroleum industry had cashed in on Diesel's engine
by offering a cheap alternative fuel, labeling one of its by-products
as "diesel fuel."
But Diesel's original vision inspired Darrick Thompson to do more research.
He discovered that the composition of diesel fuel and Canola oil are very
similar and the diesel engine can burn either one.
"I discovered that it had to be a diesel engine with an indirect mechanical
fuel injection in-line pump to take the conversion and VW Jettas made between
1988 and 1992 are really good for this."
Thompson says that a late-model diesel engine with a direct injection fuel
pump needs a higher temperature in its fuel and is more vulnerable to
contaminants in the fuel.
"I tried a kit at first, which I bought on the Web, but I had problems with
its reliability so I decided to make my own conversion," Thompson said. "I
like messing around with cars."
Thompson had to buy the in-line heater to warm the Canola oil before it
enters the engine, but most of the conversion work was done for (excuse me)
The final tab was about $200.
The braided hose that carries the Canola from a tank behind his driving seat
through a control panel bolted onto the driver's console and on to the engine
is in fact dishwasher hose, able to withstand high temperatures. It cost him
He now has dual fuel lines passing through his filter to the Jetta's engine,
one from the gas tank and one from the Canola jug sitting behind the driver's
When Thompson starts his car, he runs it on diesel fuel because the Canola is
too thick for the engine when it is cold.
"Diesel has additives so that in the winter it can run rough," he says. "You
have to preheat the Canola before it goes in so that it gets the same
viscosity as diesel."
Once the car has warmed up, Thompson switches the car over to Canola oil with
the flip of two levers. One lever drains diesel from the engine; the other
lever allows the Canola to enter the engine.
When his trip is over, Thompson reverses the process and purges his engine of
Canola and switches back over to diesel, ready for the next outing.
Thompson is proud of his own personal chip wagon: "This car gets the same
mileage per litre as on diesel, has no loss in acceleration and can drive at
the same top speeds."
For the next year he will be happy to use his recycled chip oil but Thompson
has bigger fish to fry: namely growing his own Canola on 20 acres of farm
land surrounding his house, then converting it directly to oil (and car fuel).
"Then I would be truly self-sufficient. For me, this is the way to go in the
future. Everyone knows the world oil supply will not last forever," he says.
Oddly enough, Thompson's Canola-powered car is neither far-fetched nor a
brand new idea: it's just been waiting to be "rediscovered" for the past half-
Canola is made from rapeseed, which was developed in the early stages of
World War II as an engine lubricant for Canada's rapidly growing fleet of
merchant and naval ships.
It had been found that rapeseed oil would cling to water and steam-washed
metal better than any other lubricant.
Ships bringing rapeseed oil supplies from Europe and Asia had been blockaded
by German U-boats so Canada had to "grow its own."
But after the end of the war, Canadian prairie farmers were ready to quit on
rapeseed until research scientists modified the crop to produce an oil that
could be used both in foodstuffs and also for frying food.
It was a truly "Canadian oil" so the inventors merged the two words to
produce the name Canola in 1956.
Today, a waistline-conscious world may have reservations about deep-fried
food in general and Canola oil in particular.
But Darrick Thompson's low-cholesterol Jetta is proof positive that Canola
oil has a bright future in our gas tanks.
Besides, if he's low on fuel, he can just make for the nearest Golden Arches.
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