What People are Reading
- What a very sad and shocking
2 years 29 weeks ago
- Smart Meters
2 years 32 weeks ago
- 100 year old house burns
2 years 32 weeks ago
- Column 2-10 re Treason
2 years 41 weeks ago
- Radical Difference
2 years 42 weeks ago
- This activity is such a
2 years 50 weeks ago
- Okay Great we got a sign!
2 years 50 weeks ago
- Hate Crime a Sad Moment Indeed
3 years 2 days ago
More in News
Lost Gull owner uses fry oil to fuel truck, improve environment
THE GREEN MACHINE — Lost Gull owner Daniel Davis stands in front of his Chevy Duramax diesel truck that runs on biofuel made from the recycled canola oil used in his restaurant's fryolators. The tank, which holds the fuel, sits in the bed of his truck.
OXFORD — At The Lost Gull Fish n' Chips, canola oil is used for more than just cooking french fries or seafood, says owner Daniel Davis.
The canola oil used to fry his restaurant's foods is the same oil he uses to fuel his Chevrolet Duramax diesel truck.
Small companies like The Lost Gull, and large companies like Oakhurst Dairy are weighing the costs and benefits of the clean-burning fuel.
Davis has owned The Lost Gull since June 2001, carrying on his stepfather's long history in the Maine seafood industry. During the latter five years of business, however, Davis was not only inspired to own a restaurant; he became interested in saving the environment and improving costs in order to keep his business running successfully.
Davis explained that the raw french fry oil is recycled and sent to a company called Maine Standard Biofuels to be processed into a "green" renewable fuel.
"The canola oil goes through a process where they add methanol and lye," said Davis. "I am sensitive about the environment and the biodiesel I currently use has no harm on the environment ... . It also costs less."
"I look over at the C.N. Brown station and the price of gas is $4.02. With that price I would be putting over $100 of gas into my truck per week," he said.
Davis says that his two-year deal with Maine Standard Biofuels has been a huge money saver, and also keeps his truck in better shape.
"My truck runs well on it and it smells better," he said. "It's a clean liquid oil that never solidifies. I like it for a lot of reasons."
Davis explained that all engines are designed to burn fuel that has certain characteristics, and that recycled vegetable oil fills the bill.
While his truck runs better, Davis hopes that switching to biodiesel will also serve as a future investment in his business.
"Saving and costs was a huge driver for me," he said. "The money I save on oil today offsets the money I spent on oil in the past; the savings are huge."
According to Mark Mays, a sales executive with Maine Standard Biofuels it takes one to two days to process the oil; filter it, get the water out, and take out any impurities.
"I like having the healthier oil," said Davis. "It's important to maintain the integrity of the product, while also making a short-term profit."
Davis said that while business is important, like everyone else he needs to "make money and feed the family."
According to Davis, the recycled canola oil makes the motor "much cleaner inside," but he fears the limitations that come with using biodiesel versus petroleum-based diesel.
Davis explained that with colder temperatures, biodiesel, unlike gasoline, loses its functionality.
"It becomes thicker in the winter time," he said. "As long as you keep it heated or mix it with enough regular diesel, it works fine."
At the same time, the battery output drops, which reduces the amount of power available to crank the engine.
Aside from the downfalls associated with switching to biodiesel, Davis says that "it's much healthier for the environment and for the people."
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), biodiesel reduces the health risks associated with petroleum diesel, like cancer.
According to Davis, more companies are making the switch to biodiesel, both to promote sustainability and to save costs.
Even larger corporations, like Oakhurst Dairy in Portland are using biofuel.
"[Maine Standard Biofuels] supplies thousands of gallons per week to the Oakhurst fleet," said Davis.
Oakhurst Fleet and Facilities Manager David Green says that the company receives upwards of 10,000 gallons of biofuel per month, which is used to fuel the company's fleet of 60 trucks and 72 trailers.
"The savings for us is that we're helping other local companies and reducing our carbon footprint," he said. "We are proud to help the local economy."
According to Green, Oakhurst has been committed to biofuel since 2006.
"I get 100 gallons, which lasts a whole month," said Davis. "If I can get fuel for 2/3 of a year, then that really goes a long way."
Davis says that as long as he is committed to using biofuel, then he will be able to keep more money in his pocket and eventually use it to put back into his restaurant.
"It's doing the little things around you," said Davis, "and eventually, you will have a ripple effect which will lead to an even bigger effect."