WFU Biofuels

Wake Forest students, faculty, staff and associates making and testing vegetable-oil based fuels.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The innovation of our members shines like a beacon!

As the Dixie Classic Fair starts to wind down (to an unfortunately rainy weekend), the grease is flowing freely into our collection barrels. Although we have a 10gpm pump to get the stuff out of the bins and into our collection tote (about 264 gallons), we found on the last collection run that the flow can get frustratingly slow towards the last third of the barrel, due to particulate, thick grease and such.
So Paul and Dave invented the "De-Gunkulator". One piece constructed from chicken wire plus window screen, another from PVC pipe components, more window screen and hose clamps, the De-Gunkulator makes the collection go easily twice as fast. In an ingenious design that keeps the food bits and stuff from getting to the 150 micron foot filter on the intake hose, while at the same time avoiding raising the resistance to a point that would starve the pump, the De-Gunkulator becomes everyone's favorite addition to the project.
Instead of cursing the constantly-clogging foot filter, we find ourselves quickly moving from barrel to barrel, laughing and socializing while the much-refined process takes the stress out of collection. We spend a minimal amount of time cleaning the foot filter (rinsing it off in a cup of biodiesel, another inspired suggestion from one of the core members) and still manage to fill our huge plastic tote.
Despite the rain dribbling on us the entire time, we merrily go our separate ways, knowing that our Saturday morning was productive, and we'll soon have some biofuel to reward our effort.
Monday will be our last collection run, and we'll hopefully finally get our fifteen minutes of fame at the same time! (Our effort has been so successful that WFU and the Fair both have expressed a desire to tell one, tell all about the great work we're doing.)

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