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back to article Chinese takeaway biodiesel man in garage explosion horror

A Northamptonshire man destroyed his garage and badly injured himself at the weekend while attempting to make biodiesel from used cooking oil. A devastating explosion levelled the makeshift reprocessing plant on Saturday afternoon, when sparks from an electric drill being used to mix ingredients ignited explosive vapours. …

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Insured?

I bet their insurance company won't pay out either, there's probably something in the small-print about not making fuel at home.

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Boffin

Stop giving the Terrrrrrrissssttsssss more ideas!

C'mon Lewis!

Surely an explosive concoction such as this should be protected under the official secrets act to protect the population from the Terrrrrissstt plots to blow up Blighty...

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Gates Horns

"and the chance of then being mistaken for a terrorist"

Once the boys in blue realise that chip fat can be a weapon of terr'r, they'll pounce on anyone with a dodgy accent found loitering near deep fat friers. ie the scotch.

Oi scamps, get on yahoo. I need to talk to you about Stu.

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RE: Stop giving the Terrrrrrrissssttsssss more ideas!

the could be popping down the local petrol station

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Anonymous Coward

@AC

Lewis can't answer - this is his fridge.

At approximately 09:01 this morning, some rather big looking men in dark suits with sunglasses on (it is bright out there, isn't it?) came to have a chat with him.

It sounded all very pleasant, but he did go out without his coat. And I do so worry it's going to rain later.

As they left, I definitely heard something about a nice 42 day holiday that he was going on - which surprises me, since he doesn't normally leave this much healthy food in me when he goes away.

If you know anyone that wants some lettuce that will otherwise just go off, please get them to contact me,

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Go

Was it Prince Charles?

Perhaps he's running low on surplus Chablis?

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@AC Re: "and the chance of then being mistaken for a terrorist"

You might like to know that "scotch" is a drink. I think the term you are looking for is "Scots" or "Scottish"...

.... from an Irishman

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Anonymous Coward

It won't be long before...

they legislate against you doing this at home.

A couple more stories like this and we'll get the nanny state passing legislation to protect us from dangerous neighbours brewing up their own biofuels. Or to put it another way, forcing us to pay extortionate duty and tax on pump fuel.

The government are all for alternative fuels in theory. It's just the bit of the practice that denies them their tax revenue that sticks in the throat.

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Anonymous Coward

Not very relevant but...

@Anon

Scotch? What century were you born in?

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@ Peter Hawkins

Scotch *whisky* is a drink, i.e. a whisky originating from Scotland.

Scotch is used (though I'd say it was somewhat dated) to refer to anything originating from Scotland, including its people.

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Scotch/Scots

As a Scotsman I'm thick skinned enough to not care about someone getting them mixed up. It's especially relevant as there's been more than a few times that I've had enough of the former that it's probably more accurate to call me "scotch" than Scottish.

Not had the enthusiasm or desire to make my own biodiesel yet but at £1.32 per litre of diesel I might start to get tempted very soon.

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Coat

RE: Stop giving the Terrrrrrrissssttsssss more ideas!

The last thing terrorists want to do is pay decadant western tax on their explosives. Of course they would want to brew their own...

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"Scotch"

A term for a rather pleasant drink - however can also be used as a slang term to "foil someone's plans" or in certain parts of the country to kill fish.

As an aside, unless the law in the UK has changed, it is illegal to distill alcohol for consumption (without a licence), but not if you want to use it for other purposes - such as a cleaning agent, a solvent or as a fuel.

I vaguely remember that there was a chap some 20/30 years ago that had quite a nice sized still that he used to produce methanol - and ran a number of vehicles on it quite successfully. They used to show pictures of him in the local press everytime that the C&E popped round to make sure he wasn't actually imbibing the product. (He may well have used it as part of a process to create a biodiesel type product).

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D

Laugh a minute.

Man gets 20% burns over his face and hands then has to be airlifted to hospital. Top cue for a frivolous headline and article. Maybe you could of added a shot of Simon Weston to give us all something else to laugh at.

Calum.

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Terrists

Never mind biodiesel - these days the terrists can make a nifty binary liquid explosive using a selection of ordinary toiletry products mixed with mineral water.

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Paris Hilton

Ethanal is more fun.

Here in the USA, some of the filling stations offer E-85 a mixture of Ethanol with 15% gasoline.

Is the gasoline in there to make you car run better? NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! It is there to keep you from drinking it.

Tax on motor fuel 18 cents per gallon. Tax on drinkable alcohol, $16 per gallon.

Paris because her alternative transportation plans will be revealed tommorrow night when she rolls out her new shoe line.

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Pirate

Scotch

Is pedantically considered an insult but most of us couldn't find the effort to care.

Anyone ever driven behind a biodiesel van? They stink up the whole area for miles. Anyone making this stuff should be dragged into the street and given a public beating.

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@It won't be long before..

Well, don't you think, given this story, that might actually be a bloody good idea?

Or do you want your gaff blown up by some numpty who failed his chemistry o-level brewing up bio-diesel next to you kids' playroom?

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Happy

Scotch? who mentioned Scotch?

Yes please! a large one with just a single cube of ice please

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Boffin

legality??

Quote

"

It won't be long before they legislate against you doing this at home.

A couple more stories like this and we'll get the nanny state passing legislation to protect us from dangerous neighbours brewing up their own biofuels. Or to put it another way, forcing us to pay extortionate duty and tax on pump fuel.

The government are all for alternative fuels in theory. It's just the bit of the practice that denies them their tax revenue that sticks in the throat.

"

Actually it was only made legal a couple of years ago. Prior to that you had to register and pay tax on any fuel you 'made' even if this was only straining the oil and bunging it straight into your car (there were several arrests for this a few years ago - google it). The reason for legalising it was to relieve the administrative burden of tracking and taxing some many small producers.

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Alien

I don't think words mistakenly used by people who don't know what they are on about count....

"Scotch is used (though I'd say it was somewhat dated) to refer to anything originating from Scotland, including its people."

what, like tape, mist or eggs?

we have a bunch of them you know.

from a Scots alien in Ireland.

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Flame

Not distilling it.

You add Methanol and Sodium Hydroxide to the cooking oil to remove the thick gloopy stuff to make your fuel nice and runny so the fuel pump can cope.

The byproducts of this, are soap and another compound which may be of more use to tourists :) than the methanol.

Flames, 'cos well, boom an stuff innit!

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Jobs Halo

Darwin Award Nominee?

Wonder if this chap qualifies for a Darwin Award. Shame that in trying to save the environment by reducing his carbon emissions through bio-diesel he screwed that one up in the ensuing massive explosion ...

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Anonymous Coward

@D: Laugh a minute.

>"Maybe you could of added a shot of Simon Weston to give us all something else to laugh at."

"Could have" not "of". Tsk.

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@ Chris Richards

"Scotch is used (though I'd say it was somewhat dated) to refer to anything originating from Scotland, including its people."

Yes, but only by arseholes, to be fair.

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Scotch

The only things you should refer to as 'Scotch' are whisky, broth, mist, pancakes and eggs.

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r
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"typically knacker the engine in short order"

Eh? 70,000 miles using un-treated veg oil here and still chugging along nicely thanks.

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Pirate

lucky you, in the UK

"Home biofuel making is legal and tax-free to the amount of 2,500 litres per annum."

Ah, lucky blokes, you, from Blighty. Is totally illegal in France, without any explanation whatsoever from the Sarko Circus.

I guess they now have one. In this article.

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Happy

@Chris

Well said! I make a point of referring to Scotchmen (as did P G Wodehouse) just to annoy the pedants, most of whom, it has to be said, are not of that persuasion themselves...

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Paris Hilton

Is the common term for a person born in France a "plonk"?

...although the real reason for adding to this thread is just to ponder the carbon footprint of the airlift. Paris gives me a lift.

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@Disco-Legend-Zeke

>> Tax on motor fuel 18 cents per gallon. Tax on drinkable alcohol, $16 per gallon.

So pretty much the opposite of the UK?

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alcohol, petrol, diesel

The gas is added to alcohol mixtures (not to stop people drinking the cheap alcohol), but to lubricate the engine.

Petrol cars are actually diffiuclt to lubricate, and alcohol burns at a much higher temperature than petrol.

Diesel cars don't have as much of a problem as due to pressue the oils do not dissipate so quickly, however it's still not advisable to run on 100% alcohol (would blow the inlet manifold!!!).

The alcohol is added to give the oil extra oomph, as unless you're using pure oil you've probably lost some of the "explosivenss"....and take a deep breath.

Not sure where I read all that recently, but a popular search engine is a great help.

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Anonymous Coward

Chinese take away who now?

I misread the title, believing that the Chinese had taken a man away as part of some special op also involving blowing up his garage - which would have been more interesting tbh, but meh.

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Anonymous Coward

love it

Government "green" (read not so stealthy) taxes push public to make own fuel at home running high risks of explosion and possible death. Love it when a government protects its citizens.

As to explosions and terrorists, best not get caught buying bags of flower either.

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Waste oil

Making biodiesel from waste oil is actually a good idea, but stories like the above makes you wonder if you should put this into the hands of bungling amateurs. Not only may they be a danger to themselves and their surroundings, but they are also likely to make a product that pollutes more than it ought to.

So -- in spite of the added bureaucracy -- it might be better to require all waste oil (over a certain quantity) to be collected and sent to licensed processing plants. To encourage this actually happening, pay a small amount for the waste oil. You certainly don't want to charge for picking it up -- that is a sure way of getting it dumped in the gutter or given away to amateur fuel makers. The cost of paying for waste oil and collecting and processing it should be covered by selling the fuel back -- especially if this fuel becomes tax exempt.

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Dead Vulture

Chinese takeaway

"made motor fuel from used cooking oil obtained from his local Chinese takeaway. Such oil can often be used in diesel vehicles without preparation"

So....what is it about Chinese takeaway oil specifically that makes it so compatible with diesel oil engines? I bet its the added sweet sour sauce......

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Anonymous Coward

Bungling amateurs

Logically all waste oil should be converted at some large professionally run facility , but you only get the tax benefit if you produce less than 2500 litres at home.

Thus the pro's immediately have to work with a tax burden, and the near suicidal antics of the amateurs are encouraged.

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Coat

As an aside...

Why can nobody here spell "terrorist" ?

Mine's the one with the bottles of vodka and sunflower oil in the pocket. I'm going home to fry some chips and get drunk ;)

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Go

@Waste oil

I think that's one for private enterprise. I wonder how high the price of fuel would need to go before we start to see small commercial waste oil processing plants that send a truck round to collect waste oil.

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Anonymous Coward

@@Waste oil

As someone pointed out, once a private company starts doing you get the old 70% tax duty issue.

Talk about a way for the government just to print money.

You(company) take manky oil, create a viable petrol, sell it, Government get lots of free monies for doing nothing, you get a few pence. A plot even the great Mugabe would aspire too.

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Sam

Chinese takeaway

So it's MSG, not MPG?

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@ Matt West, & other "why don't pros do it?"

They already do- there are several firms local to me that reprocess waste oil into biodiesel.

The reason they are not more popular than they are, and that people tend to brew their own;

1) Doubts about the quality of the product. If you're going to use a fuel that could well knacker your engine, many people want to oversee its production themselves.

2) Price. As stated by others, commercial production attracts fuel duty, and ameteur does not. Also some people have a source of 'free' (or very cheap) waste oil, resulting in VERY cheap fuel if they do the chemistry themselves.

/unhappy owner of low-MPG petrol car

/flames... in reference to story

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Go

American Takeaway

I believe that MacDonalds has been doing this for a while now.

But its good to hear that it was made legal to do a homebrew. Just hope the neighbour doesn't blow us up in their efforts to economise.

Supposedly, the car has a fish and chip shop smell as a consequence. Can anyone else verify this?

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@Tony

'They used to show pictures of him in the local press everytime that the C&E popped round to make sure he wasn't actually imbibing the product.'

Bizarre, you'd have thought even Customs and Excise would know that the main side-effect of swigging methanol is to be found lightly dead.

The real drawback of methanol as a fuel (as if being toxic wasn't enough) is that it is highly corrosive to materials like plastics and aluminium. You can burn it in your car, but don't be too surprised if bits start dropping off.

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Pirate

I really hope they dont legislate against this

Im sure this will cause a storm in a teacup and eventually end in legislation to stop it, weve already had the obligatory think about the children post:

"Or do you want your gaff blown up by some numpty who failed his chemistry o-level brewing up bio-diesel next to you kids' playroom?"

I salute this man for demonstrating the acceptance of personal risk, There are far too many people who wish to hand all responsibility for their safety to the government and absolve themselves of responsibility. What happened to this country pioneering spirit where people were free to kill themselves because they were responsible for their own actions.

Of course the really cheap way to make biodiesel is to buy a old wreck of a diesel car for a couple hundred pounds, strain the lumps out of the veg oil and run a mix of veg oil and real diesel, even if it eventually wrecks the engine the money saved in fuel is more than enough to pay for the old heap of a car.

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Sparks

Power tools and volatile materials - a very bad combination, mix it by hand or (very green) build your own waterwheel.

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@Torben Mogensen

"To encourage this actually happening, pay a small amount for the waste oil." - Strange that mention this. There is a guy here in Blighty that actually does exactly that and si making a nice little profit from it; at the same time as reducing his own fuel costs !!

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@Charles Tsang

It's a *Chinese takeaway*, not a chippie !! The smell will probably be of chow mein or deep-fried prawn crackers !!

If it was from the local Indian takeaway, would the curry fumes constitute Hazmat pollution ??

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Boffin

industrial scale conversion

The amount of waste cooking oil in the entire country is only enough to provide fuel for a small number of dedicated (as in miserly) amateurs. Start trying to operate a siginificant fraction of vehicles (even just diesel vehicles) on it, and you will run out in a hurry.

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Stop

Stop with the knee jerking, please

There are a LOT of home biodiesel producers out there, both in the UK and the US. Yet, one guy blows up his garage and suddenly people are talking about the "HORRIBLE DANGERS OF AMATEURS OH NOES THEY ARE GOING TO KILL US ALL!!!" totally ignoring the number of idiots who manage to blow themselves up doing stupid things like cleaning parts with petrol, smoking in stupid places, and looking for gas leaks with a lit match(!!!). Fact is, stupid DIYers blow themselves up on an infrequent, yet regular, basis. Don't ruin things for everyone else due to a few Darwin Award contenders.

-Daniel

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