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Fri, May 24

<I>Who needs gasoline or diesel?</I><BR>Local man converts cars to run on used vegetable oil

This 27-gallon fuel tank, right, sits in the bed of Mark Dorsten's GMC truck. The tank is part of a two-tank conversion kit Dorsten purchased at www.greasel.com.

He said his lifestyle helps keep the paid gig hours low, too.

"I really don't have to work that much, because I've simplified my life," Katan said. "I'm really into taking things wasted and turning them into something useful."

Katan is used to working on his own vehicles, but insists it's pretty easy for anyone to convert their diesel vehicle to a veggie car.

"The conversion's like really, really minor," Katan said. "It took only six hours."

He bought a $600 kit that includes a 12-gallon tank, three hoses, selector switch, filter and three-way bypass valve. The system is based on heat and pressure instead of spark plugs.

He stuck the tank that holds the oil and heater core in his trunk. Three coated hoses come off the tank, with two creating a heating loop to the engine coolant and the third going into a special cleanable filter and switch.

Since it's a double instead of more expensive single-tank system, he needs diesel or biodiesel fuel to start the car. Then once it's hot, he switches to veggie fuel.

He's making his own biodiesel by mixing veggie oil, methanol and lye, and envisions a cooperative large enough to supply biodiesel to local school buses, as well as individuals in exchange for helping the Prescott Biofuel Cooperative.

Those passing by his McCormack Street home will notice the 55-gallon drum system he built to filter out the chunks of food from his veggie oil.

Katan already has converted three vehicles and said they're running great.

"We drove through the night to San Diego and it was just awesome," he said of his first trip in his own veggie car. He said he gets the same power and mileage as he did before the conversion.

He brought along extra veggie oil for the trip, then collected more along the way, setting up a portable filtering system whenever he needed more fuel.

He did have one glitch on the trip but quickly solved it, he said. Something got into the fuel line but he used compressed air to get it out.

Contact the reporter at jdodder@prescottaz.com

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