Boil Biofuel

From converting your lawn mower to solar power to brewing your own biofuel, there are plenty of steps the more industrious green citizen can take beyond recycling and CF bulbs. Get started below.

Boil Up Biofuel in Your Garage

Make your bad eating habits finally pay off. The Fuelmeister II, produced by Renewal Fuels in Nevada, converts used cooking oil into clean, efficient biodiesel that will run any unmodified diesel engine. Just pour cooking oil, racing methanol, lye and tap water into the machine’s mixing cone and plug it in. The closed-system refinery will brew some 43 gallons of diesel in about half an hour.

At roughly 70 cents a gallon, the greasy stuff can add up to big savings and is even more cost-effective if you make it in bulk to share (or sell).
Cost: $3,100
Level of difficulty: 7
Audacity Meter: 6
| | | | | | | | | |


Save a Flush

Save a Flush or Two

If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown . . . carry it into the backyard with last night’s corncobs. Sintex Industries, a plastics company in India, has rolled out a small-scale methane digester that can produce enough gas to power a stove, washing machine or generator.

The 264-gallon digester takes in human waste as well as kitchen scraps. As the material composts, the digester routes the resulting methane into a storage tank. For now, the system is available only in India, but DIYers are already posting online about their own manure-powered versions.
Cost: $425
Level of difficulty: 5
Audacity Meter: 7
| | | | | | | | | |


Mower to Solar

Convert Your Mower to Solar

You drive a Prius; why not mow with one? Gas-powered mowers can spew as much pollution in an hour as a car does in 100 miles. Guy Marsden, an electrical engineer in Maine, has come up with instructions for transforming a 22-inch mower into a silent grass-eating machine.

Step one is replacing the motor with a 12-volt electric one. Step two is making a home solar charger. Step three is taking your 1,750rpm, whisper-quiet mower out and baffling the neighbors. Too daunting? Marsden will convert a mower for you, for a little green of your own.
Cost: $1,500
Level of difficulty: 9
Audacity Meter: 7
| | | | | | | | | |

And check out PopSci‘s complete coverage of the future of the environment at