Electricity From Used Vegetable Oil?


Several years ago I read about the problems restaurants faced with the disposal of used vegetable oil from cooking. If you have ever parked behind a fast food eatery you may have noticed a dumpster area for trash disposal as well as a container for storing used vegetable oil. The area is often tucked away behind the building to prevent the public from seeing and smelling the waste. Restaurants pay companies to haul away the solid and liquid waste.

I also learned many years ago that the diesel engine was invented by Adolf Diesel to run on peanut oil to help farmers with an affordable fuel source. Most diesel fuel now is petroleum based. Individuals can still run their diesel vehicles on vegetable oil by using a Grease Car type system or by converting the vegetable oil to biodiesel which requires a process and equipment using chemicals. I have always wanted to convert my VW diesel to veggie oil. Imagine free fuel that is also good for the environment and your exhaust smells like french fries.

Recently I have been thinking about generating electricity with used vegetable oilturning used vegetable oil into electricity from restaurants using a diesel generator. I was surprised to see that a company has developed such a product for restaurants to generate electricity and hot water from used oil. The unit even filters the waste oil prior to using it to generate electricity and hot water. The product is called the Vegawatt Power System. For more information visit web site.

We do not use  used vegetable oil at our inn to power the structures or heat water but we do utilize many eco-friendly methods.

Wine in a Plastic Bottle

Since our inn is located in the North Georgia wine country our guests have the opportunity of tasting many different types of wine produced in the area. All the wines are bottled or packaged in the traditional glass wine bottle that we recycle at the recycling center or use for our wine bottle trees. We learned about wine in a plastic bottle.

An article in Tree Hugger that mentioned a California winery that is using one literwine in a plastic bottle plastic (PET #1) bottles to help the environment. The wine is called Fog Mountain. The wine is also organic. What would wine snobs think about wine in a plastic bottle?

The advantages of the plastic wine bottle:

• 33% more wine – two extra glasses – than a standard 750ml bottle
• 60% smaller carbon footprint
• Less energy to produce, ship and recycle
• 100% recyclable since the plastic is a number 1.
• 7 recycled Fog Mountain wine bottles can produce 1 extra-large t-shirt
• lightweight & shatterproof, no broken glass
• Perfect for picnics, barbecues, camping and life-on-the-go

Maybe one day we will see wineries in our area put wine in a plastic bottle.

Our North Georgia wines are in glass bottles like traditional wine. If you would like to visit our wineries we would love you to stay with us. For more information on the North Georgia wine region visit wineries.

Higher Gas Prices Equals Conservation?

This post is about a subject many people can relate to- higher gas prices. Especially those who do not drive a fuel efficient car and spends hundreds of dollars filling up to get to work.

The other day I drove to the North Springs Marta Station to meet my middle songas prices at the pump who was catching the train from the Atlanta airport. We never go directly to the Atlanta airport because the traffic is always heavy and airport parking is expensive.

On the way to the Marta Station I had to navigate Georgia 400 which is known for heavy traffic on a multi lane highway. Driving in my Volvo 240 with the “be green” bumper sticker on the back window I had both hands firmly on the steering wheel. On 400 it starts as a 4 lane highway and lanes are added the closer you get to the Atlanta metro area.

I am known as a mindful driver who never exceeds the speed limit. On this trip I held a steady speed of 60-65 mph. I felt like my car was not even moving because everyone was zipping by me at 75 mph. Oh, the cheap gas makes Georgians feel that they can drive as fast as they want. Conservation is never thought about unless the price of gas rises above 4 dollars a gallon. Does higher gas prices equals conservation?

On ABC News the other night Charlie Gibson had a special called “Addicted to Oil”. He raised an interesting point that gasoline prices do not factor in the hidden costs of production. Such costs include the military (for fighting the gas wars in Iraqi and other places to protect our interests- cheap oil) and global warming.

Maybe such costs will be added in the future to reflect the true cost of a gallon of gasoline. If so, can you imagine how much we would be paying? Maybe 4 to 6 dollars a gallon. I bet those highway 400 drivers would slow down and show that higher gas prices equals conservation. We may also see less sales of large SUV’s and pickup trucks and more sales of electric and hybrids.

Higher gas prices may also mean that you need to take a staycation closer to home. We are not that far from Atlanta but once you get here you feel you are in a different place- nature, cooler temps, lack of traffic. For information on things to do please visit Dahlonega attractions . You can also visit the chamber site.