WASTE VEGETABLE OIL
Also knows as WVO, waste vegetable oil is the primary raw material most home biodiesel makers use to make their fuel. Originally starting life as food grade cooking oil, this product can literally be more expensive than actual diesel fuel, uncooked! Restaurants across the country use millions of gallons of this stuff annually to cook foods.
Used in deep fryers, the oil can only be used for a certain period of time before it imparts a bad taste to the food (after a while, food that is cooked in old oil has a burnt taste to it), and must be replaced. Technically, free fatty acids build up in the oil, making it unsafe for consumption and carcinogenic. This waste oil used to literally be thrown out – in some cases, it still is.
WVO is an abundant and available product, and most likely the best choice for a beginner to get started with. So where do you get it? Start off with local mom and pop restaurants that you already patronize. Introduce yourself to the owner or manager. You’ll find that most restaurants, regardless of cuisine, will have at least one 50 gallon drum out back where they store their waste oil. This is for a couple of reasons; primarily, health inspectors and government ordinances discourage the dumping of oil in large quantities down the drain, and second, because there are services to retrieve this oil. Approach the owner, and tell him or her that you are willing to take the waste oil off his or her hands on a weekly basis. Realize that the restaurateur must normally pay to have this taken away – you are doing him a favor!