Survival Guides

Homemade Biodiesel

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Here at Family Survival Society, we show you how to make a thing or two. We bet, however, you never thought we would show you how to make fuel for your diesel car or truck. Well it’s true! We are going to show you exactly how to do such a thing.

From a survival perspective, a diesel vehicle, particularly one from before the era of electronically controlled engines (say from about the mid 1990s and back) is an incredibly reliable thing. Diesel engines can run on practically anything – even combinations of gasoline and waste engine oil. They are highly robust engines that won’t let you down, and thus they are capable of being fuelled from homemade products made into what is known as biodiesel.


There are essentially two classes of diesel fuel out there, and sometimes they are mixed together to form blends. Firstly, there is petroleum based diesel. Petroleum diesel is a conventional fossil fuel that is made from crude oil, and is the kind of diesel fuel that you purchase at the pump in a conventional gas station.

There is another class of diesel fuel however – biodiesel. Like anything, most people assume that making diesel fuel from plants or animal fats is some sort of new technology – it isn’t! Rudolf Diesel himself was running his earliest engines from peanut oil. So what is biodiesel, and how can you make some for yourself ?

First of all, there are two sources by which biodiesel can be made from – animal sources and plant sources (or both, but that is a more in depth discussion). Currently, plant sources are the most common source to manufacture biodiesel from since they are the most abundant. In either case, plant biodiesel is made by chemically altering vegetable oil through a process called transesterification. The goal is to thin down the oil to enable it to run in a conventional diesel engine.

It goes without saying that the whole idea behind biodiesel is to produce it as inexpensively as possible. While there is an initial outlay for purchasing equipment, you want to ensure the raw materials, whether they are animal or plant based, are essentially free. There’s no point paying for any of this stuff as you may as well just go buy petro diesel in that case! Be a savvy collector of raw materials to make biodiesel.

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