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From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural,,,,
Subject: Re: Home Heating Options for Rural Midwest Residents?
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 14:52:11 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Wed, 14 Sep 2005 16:00:54 GMT, Dan Bloomquist
<> wrote:

>> I make biodiesel for $0.70 / gallon
>No you don't. You are recovering a rather limited waste stream. Someone
>else produced that oil.

And assuming he's scavenging waste oil from restaurants, he's stealing
someone else's property.  Waste oil is a valuable chemical feedstock.
When it's sitting in the tank behind the restaurant, it does not
belong to the restaurant operator.

By either not charging for the pickup or even in some cases, paying
for it, the restaurant operator signs an agreement with the waste oil
processor to a) put all his waste oil in the supplied tank and b) not
to allow it to go anywhere else.

My agreement is typical.  Title to the waste oil transfers when it
leaves my fryers.  It is not mine to give away.  If this guy is
scavenging the oil from restaurant waste oil tanks then he is stealing
from the waste oil processor.  If he has "permission" from the
restaurant operator then the operator is violating his agreement with
the processor and is stealing the oil from them.  This guy is
receiving stolen property.

I've chatted with my waste oil processor and know that this theft is
becoming a major concern to the waste oil processors.  Someone is
going to be made an example of.  In this state one only has to steal
more than $100 for it to be felony theft.  That's not much oil,
particularly if the thief is doing it on a regular basis.

A couple of other thoughts for those folks considering using waste
fryer oil.

We restaurant operators remove heat-induced polymers (the yellow gel
that collects on fryers) from the oil by filtering it with treated
pumice.  Some amount of this stuff remains in the oil and causes
fairly rapid wear of the roller type pumps we use to pump the oil. The
cute little filters included in the veggie diesel kits that I've
looked at will NOT remove this fine abrasive material.

Fryer oil is treated with a small amount of silicone oil to prevent
foaming.  This oil is inert at frying temperatures and remains in the
waste.  It decomposes at high heat to make silica dust which is a fine
abrasive.  Since the oil remains a liquid until burned, the silica
can't be removed by filtering and probably not by any reasonably
inexpensive treatment.

How much of this makes it to the combustion chamber is anyone's guess
but considering the cost of injector pumps (older diesels) and
variable direct injection injectors (modern engines), I'd certainly
not fool with it.  Modern injectors such as the ones used on the
current production Ford diesels contain parts finished to micron-level
tolerances.  Even microscopic wear ruins these parts.  At an estimated
replacement cost of nearly a thousand bux a cylinder, a few cents per
gallon saving using veggie oil just isn't worth it.

Yeah I know there are fleets testing the stuff but few if any are
using pure veggie oil, none are making the stuff at home and there is
little high mileage wear data.

Every individual can do as he pleases, of course, but for my fleet,
nothing but high quality diesel goes in my trucks' tanks.

>> If normal people do not make biodiesel, how come biodiesel processor kits
>> are sold out at every major vendor?

Probably for the same reason fuel line magnets and other quack devices
sell so well. P.T. Barnum commented on that....


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural,,,,
Subject: Re: Home Heating Options for Rural Midwest Residents?
Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2005 01:35:20 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Wed, 14 Sep 2005 18:00:47 -0400, Steve Spence
<> wrote:

>I'm not referring to the concept of grease rustling, I'm referring to
>the supposed ills of running hot grease. Go back and read his post. All
>kinds of inaccurate info on the affects of veggie oil in a diesel.

The word is "effects", Steve, "Effects".

OK, Steve, as a retired engineer with much experience in the
automotive field and who still occasionally consults to one of the Big
Two, I have an open mind.  Convince me that you've objectively
addressed the potential problems I wrote about.

Tell me about your lab analysis that proves that your veggie fuel
contains no pumice, silica fines or silicone oil.  Convince me that
you were even aware of those issues before my article.

Show me the data from your extended durability testing on even one
current production engine.  It is normal for OEMs to run a fleet of
diesel engines through 100,000 hour durability runs when changes in
fuel are being evaluated. Things like lowering the sulfur level.  Show
me the tribology data comparing your oil to the API and SAE standards
for diesel fuel.  Ford, for example, has over 250 dyno cells under one
roof in Dearborn just to run these kinds of tests.  What do you have?

Don't have any of that?  Then on what basis do you claim that the
concerns that I raise are wrong?  I can certainly tell you what some
of the guys who design the engines and injectors and who DO have the
data say when I've asked.  "Not in my damned truck!".  Yeah, I know,
bought and paid for by the auto-oil axis, right?

While you're at it, tell me about your liability insurance that will
make your customers whole in the event your fuel causes premature wear
or other damage.

Don't have any of that?  No surprise there either.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Green Trust's new Listeroid CHP project is off and running
Date: Sat, 02 Jun 2007 22:49:51 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Sat, 2 Jun 2007 15:09:39 -0400, "Steve Spence" <> wrote:

>If you consider a donation to a non-profit "begging", I suppose.
>considered it an investment in the future Our sustainable community does
>sustainable research. We developed vegetable oil fueled diesel systems over
>10 years ago. We have been involved in methane and ethanol development.
>Cogen systems, wind turbine technology, etc. Where do the funds come from to
>maintain the research materials and staff? From donations, or "begging" as
>John so ignorantly put it.

When one strips all the beggary BS away, what one has is a guy and his family playing
rugged pioneer in the backwoods while tinkering with old technology and practicing
the secular religion at the Church of the Environment.  Nothing wrong with that.  I'm
sure it's a lot of fun.

Where the problem arises is your wrapping yourself in the pompous mantle of "trust"
and your sucking at the public tit to fund your play.  Yeah, I know how easy it is to
fudge a little on the application and get 501(c)3 status.  Being the son of a CPA, I
also know how hard the IRS comes down on such scams when they catch on.  I won't do
it because I hate snitches more than tax frauds but perhaps someone else will drop a
dime...  Oh, and lose that "royal we" crap.  When you do something, describe it as "I
did" and not "we did".  You don't fool anyone with that.

I've been all over your site and I've yet to find a single thing that you've done
that even remotely approaches innovative.  Mostly what I see is re-inventing the
wheel, usually poorly, some deception and probably some outright theft.

On the last item, unless you've placed the containers at the restaurant AND confirmed
that the restaurant operator doesn't have a contract with a grease recycler, you're
stealing that used fryer oil.

This is a hot topic in the industry right now and a number of suits have been filed
against oil thieves.  When a recycling company puts the waste oil container at a
restaurant and hauls the grease off at no charge, the company requires the operator
to sign a contract that ALL the oil the restaurant produces goes to the recycler.
Waste oil has significant value, value that offsets the cost of the waste oil
container and of picking it up.  Waste oil companies get kinda touchy when some
wild-eyed longhairedhippyfreak comes in and starts stealing their property.

Contract terms vary but generally they say something to the effect that title to the
oil transfers when the oil becomes waste.  Some say when the oil reaches the waste
oil container and others say when it leaves the fryer.  Every one I've seen contains
an exclusivity clause - that is, ALL the waste oil goes to the reprocessor.

In my experience in talking to a lot of 'em, few small restaurant operators realize
that they've signed a contract.  Normally no reason to think about it.  One arranges
for the tank as part of the opening process and from that time forward, the oil just
magically disappears.

Most either don't remember anything or think that they signed a receipt for the tank.
I took the time to make a copy of my "receipt" (contract) when the first tank was set
at my restaurant.  It is,  indeed, a contract.

Beyond theft, this waste oil fad is neither environmentally sound (conventionally and
not in reference to Church doctrine) nor scalable.  All, that is 100% of the waste
oil produced, is already recycled.  It is not a waste product but a valuable chemical
feedstock.  All you so-called "veggie oil" advocates are doing is using petty larceny
and lax controls to divert this stuff off to your personal gain.  And, of course,
scamming the less informed out of their money for literature, processing kits and

Were there an attempt to turn legitimate - veggie oil consumers putting out their own
containers at restaurants and having restaurant operators cancel their old contracts,
the attempt will fail because it will not scale.  In simple terms, restaurants don't
make enough waste oil to make even a minor dent in the demand for motor fuel.
Further, once veggie oil consumers start paying the actual value of the stuff, prices
will soar.  The existing consumers, oil reprocessors, will simply start paying
restaurant operators for the oil instead of the current "value of the oil pays for
the disposal" model.  And restaurant operators will start taking bids for their
valuable "waste" oil instead of giving it away. I've read in trade journals that this
is already happening in some areas, driven by the high value of waste oil to
established uses.

Once veggie oil hobbyists start having to pay the fair market value of the oil, it
suddenly becomes much less attractive than what one gets at the fuel pump.

On a more global scale, burning seed oil for fuel simply won't scale either.
Especially if the government quits subsidizing over-production of seed oils,
particularly corn and soybean.  If the government gets out of the way and lets the
market control prices and if any significant new demand develops for seed fuel oil
then the price MUST rise.  That hurts us all because the price increase will drive up
the cost of all sorts of things, from food to plastics.

Sure there is room for some increase in production of oil seeds but not that much.
And once the idle acres are planted, the same environmental lunatic fringe that is
promoting veggie oil will howl about cutting down forests (that they don't own, of
course) to make more farmland.

Methane production? (why do you environuts have to tag stuff with the "bio" prefix?
Pretty much all methane, from the stuff that comes out of the ground called natural
gas to cow farts is "biomethane".  Or just methane. Adding syllables makes you sound
more important, I suppose.) Ancient and mature technology.  If you were serious about
it you'd conduct a literature search instead of playing at taxpayer's expense.

If you researched the past, you'd know that by the turn of the last century, GE,
Westinghouse and Delco among others were making and selling packaged waste-fueled and
producer-gas-fueled power plants.  These ranged from small "lighting plants" of a
couple KW capacity up to over 100KW capacity to supply power to remote towns.  I have
a sales brochure from GE from 1921 (I collect old technical literature and books)
that shows a broad line of plants.

With the methane plants, the farmer shoveled shit in one end and electricity came out
the other.  The producer gas plants made producer gas (CO and methane) by passing
steam over hot coal, coke, charcoal or even wood chips) in a "cracker" and that gas
fueled the large spark-ignited piston engine that drove the generator.  Again, shovel
whatever available solid fuel in one and electricity comes out the other end.

The interesting thing is that the brochure brags that electricity can be made for "as
little as 7 cents a KWH"!  According to the government's inflation calculator, that figures out to 81 cents per KWH in
today's dollars!!!!  That would make even a Californian choke.  I think I'll stay
with TVA's mostly nuclear (in my area) generated 7 cent power.

Even if methane production could somehow be price competitive with conventional
power, it wouldn't scale, again for the simple reason that there just isn't enough
stuff to feed the process with.  At best, methane power is a niche product, fitting
in where there is an existing source of almost free methane, such as garbage dumps.

One of the most vivid memories of my very early childhood was when the REA and TVA
brought electricity to my great-grand-parents' remote farm in Alabama.  Granddad was
SOOO happy to get rid of that Delco lighting plant and Grandmom thrilled to have an
electric washing machine to replace that gasoline-powered Maytag that seemed to never
start.  I very much doubt that many people want to spent much of their lives
operating power plants and otherwise provide basic needs.  Labor-saving is what it's
all about, after all.

The sad thing is, Steve, that out of ignorance, you're stumbling around in the dark
re-enacting history without even knowing it.  Similar to the War for Southern
Independence re-enactors except that THEY know that they're playing AND they do their

So yeah, you went begging again to get someone else to fund your play when you begged
for that Listeroid.   The unintended consequence of that "gift" is that it made Le
Boise' look financially foolish and therefore not a company where I'd want to spend
my money.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Green Trust's new Listeroid CHP project is off and running
Date: Sun, 03 Jun 2007 04:36:57 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On 3 Jun 2007 03:16:06 -0400, wrote:

>Neon John  <> wrote:

>Why do things have to "scale"? What does that mean? Is Steve claiming or
>do you believe that some single solution must be the answer to all our
>energy problems? Niches seem fine to me, as appropriate, for instance,
>locally-grown food, where that makes sense, vs growing 90% of what we eat
>in a single county in California and trucking it all over the US.

They don't unless you're proposing to save the world with your work and sucking down
taxpayer money and begging others for stuff in the process.  If Spence presents
himself to the world as "hey, look at the neat things I'm doing to accommodate my
chosen lifestyle" then I'd have absolutely no problem.  It's that "trust" thing and
the 501(c)3 thing and the begging thing and the (probable) theft of veggie oil thing
and all that blather about "sustainability" and a few others that bothers me.  If he
claims that burning veggie oil for power is "sustainable" for him then he should be
growing the oil crop and pressing the oil to demonstrate same.  If, as he now claims,
burning restaurant waste oil is "sustainable" then it damn well better scale so that
more than 3 or 4 people in a town can do it.  At least if he's to have any

>My farmer friend Barry grows about 50 acres of tomatoes and corn and other
>vegetables and sells them at a roadside stand in summertime. Does this fail
>to scale because he doesn't also sell corn in wintertime, or because he
>doesn't sell oranges, or because he doesn't have 3,000 vegetable stands? :-)

Of course not.  I bet Barry isn't claiming to save the world nor is he suckling off
the public tit while claiming some sort of societal good.

A lot of the stuff I do doesn't scale either.  It was never meant to.  I find
solutions to my particular problems using the materials at hand and my particular
skill set.  I publish as many as I have time for on my web site so that perhaps
others can learn from my experience or maybe just be entertained.  I'm not saving the
world or even my next door neighbor (until the power goes off and out comes the
extension cord :-)  And I damned sure don't go begging for stuff to play with.


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