Mike Arnold of Soldotna and his homemade alternative energy car
With cost of fueling your car or truck approaching $3.00 a gallon, many people are looking for ways to reduce the costs of fuel without cutting down on their transportation needs. Basement mechanic Mike Arnold of Soldotna has come up with an alternative that he says is getting him about 400 miles to a gallon of diesel fuel in his vintage VW Rabbit, “I get about 4,000 miles on a 10gallon tank of diesel in the summer and about 3,000 miles in the winter, so I don’t pull into gas stations very often,” says Arnold.
About 3 years ago Arnold started looking into alternative fuels such as bio-diesel, “I discovered that I could make bio-diesel out of the used vegetable oil that restaurants use for making French fries right here in the local area. I discovered with a few modifications I could use pure vegetable oil without doing the chemical process of making bio-diesel. So I collect the used fryer oil and filter it with a process I came up with and then you can put it into your vehicle, with a few engine modifications,” explained Mike. According to Arnold a lot of the grease going into the landfill could be used to fuel cars right here in our local community.
Mike Arnold explains how French fry oil replaces the diesel fuel when his car is running
The difference between bio-diesel and Arnold’s fuel is that bio-diesel can be put right into the main fuel tank, but Arnold’s process requires an alternate tank with a heater to hold the French-fry oil and a switching mechanism to change over from regular diesel once the vehicle is running. “You start the engine up with diesel and warm the engine up then switch over to the vegetable oil and when you cool the engine down you switch back to the diesel to avoid fuel line coagulation. The regular smell of burned diesel fuel is replaced with the smell of French-fries which is about the only down side of the conversion because the guys at work say they get hungry when they drive behind me,” said Arnold.
His car has been working so well, Arnold is planning to share what he has learned with any one interested at a how-to-do-it-yourself seminar in the near future. “It’s really very simple and if a couple of years ago I had the opportunity to learn what I know now at a seminar in a couple of hours, I’d have jumped at it, and the cost of the seminar will be earned back at the fuel pump in no time,” added Arnold. Mike is planning his first workshop in the middle of May at the Peninsula Center Mall in Soldotna. The cost of the seminar will be $80.00 per person. To find out more about the do-it-yourself seminar contact Mike Arnold at 262-3834, or 252-0661.
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