Americans turn to vegetable oil for car fuel 美國人用蔬菜油當汽油燃料

Sun, Aug 06, 2006 - Page 14

More and more Americans are setting up small refineries in their homes to make biodiesel, a fuel made from used cooking oil. It is cleaner and cheaper than the fuel sold at gas stations.

“It's better for the engine, way better for the environment (and) it's cheaper,” said Dan Goodman, a man in Maryland who runs his car on biodiesel.

There are two ways to get on the biodiesel bandwagon, Goodman said. Either you change your car's engine and just put in used cooking oil, or you can modify the oil into biodiesel, which works in any diesel car.

More professional biodiesel refineries are popping up all over the US, but thousands of people now make fuel at home too. They use the oil left after they fry french fries or oil they find by scrounging around restaurants.

“It's easy when you know how to do it,” Goodman said, though he warned that the process “can be hazardous,” because the oil can catch on fire and breathing its fumes is harmful to one's health.

Goodman makes about 1,135 liters of biodiesel a day on a farm in Maryland, where his assistant twice a week brings huge cans of the oil he collects from restaurants in the towns nearby.

The homemade fuel keeps 15 school buses running in the area, Goodman said.

Biodiesel production in the US has tripled since 2004 to 280 million liters last year. This year, it is expected to double to 560 million liters.

In comparison, the US uses 227 billion liters of traditional diesel fuel per year. (AFP)

愈來愈多美國人在自家設立小型精煉廠,把用過的食用油拿來製造生物柴油,這不但比加油站販售的燃料更乾淨也更便宜。

利用生物柴油作為汽車動力的馬里蘭州男子丹?古德曼說:「那不但對引擎比較好,也更環保、更便宜。」

古德曼表示,想趕搭這股生物柴油風潮有兩種方法:一是更換汽車引擎,直接倒入用過的食用油;二是把廢食用油提煉成適用於所有柴油車的生物柴油。

專業的生物柴油精煉廠在全美各地蓬勃發展,但也有數以千計的美國人選擇在家自行製造生物柴油,他們利用炸過薯條或從各餐廳回收來的廢食用油作為原料。

古德曼說:「如果你知道方法就很簡單。」但他也警告說,提煉過程「可能造成危險」,因為廢食用油易燃,吸入它所產生的氣體有害人體健康。

古德曼在馬里蘭州的農場一天可製造一千一百三十五公升左右的生物柴油,他的助理每週兩次把從鄰鎮餐廳回收的大桶廢食用油運過來處理。

古德曼表示,這種自製燃料是當地十五輛校車運轉的動力。

去年美國生物柴油的產量達到兩億八千萬公升,是二00四年的三倍。今年預估將成長一倍,達到五億六千萬公升。

相較之下,美國每年消耗的傳統柴油量為兩千兩百七十億公升。

(法新社/翻譯;林倩如)