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Photos: Getting around on biodiesel

Josh Tickell promotes biodiesel through books and a backyard equipped to make the alternative fuel.
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By Bill Detwiler on
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1 of 5 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

view to Tickell's backyard

A view into Josh Tickell's backyard, where you'll see an organic garden immediately to the left, his home office, his diesel-engine Volkswagen Jetta and a biodiesel fueling station with extra drums of the alternative fuel, which is made from vegetable oil. Tickell is the author of a book about the fuel, "Biodiesel America: How to Achieve Energy Security, Free America from Middle East Oil Dependence and Make Money Growing Fuel," due for release in February.

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2 of 5 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

home-fueling station

A home biodiesel fueling station, complete with pump, trolley and drum of biodiesel fuel ordered from a distributor, Biodiesel Solutions. Biodiesel proponent Josh Tickell plugs a cigarette-lighter adapter into his VW Jetta to power the pump.

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3 of 5 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

outside the home office

Josh Tickell outside his home office, just steps from his organic garden and biodiesel fueling station. Tickell drove a biodiesel vehicle, called the Veggie Van, across the country more than a year ago to promote the alternative fuel.

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4 of 5 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

biodiesel tanks

These plastic tanks in Josh Tickell's backyard are used to demonstrate how biodiesel fuel is made. The process involves mixing vegetable oil with an alcohol, typically methanol, and a catalyst, usually lye (or sodium hydroxide), to extract glycerin from the vegetable oil and "thin" it to make it compatible with the diesel engine.

"If you can make a margarita, you can make biodiesel," Tickell says.

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5 of 5 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

biodiesel fueling station

Biodiesel fueling stations are scarce. On Jan. 7, the Biodiesel Co-op--a group of artists, writers and designers living in the Los Angeles area--opened their own, members-only biodiesel fueling station in nearby Marina del Rey. Housed in a trailer behind a group of office buildings off U.S. Highway 90, the station serves as a convenient place for co-op members to fuel their diesel-engine vehicles.

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