MARSHALL - When A.J. Goldammer took over the Culver's franchise in Marshall he took over a responsibility all restaurants have to environmental regulations: proper disposal of used fryer oil. And by fueling his car with it, he's found a way to turn a problem into profit.
"It's been kind of a passing fancy of mine," Goldammer said. "I heard about it on the program 'Mythbusters' where they confirmed you can run a diesel on vegetable oil. So I went looking and found one on eBay already converted."
What Goldammer found was a 1995 Mercedes 300D for sale in Las Vegas, Nev.
Photo by Steve Browne
Used oil is pumped out of the storage tank at Culver's through a valve on the outside of the restaurant and then pumped into the vehicle owned by A.J. Goldammer, who installed the fuel pump and filter unit on a hand truck from Runnings.
"According to the owners, it was the first car converted in the state," Goldammer said.
In point of fact, the engine Rudolf Diesel developed in 1893 was originally designed to run on vegetable oil, and the modifications are very simple. There is an extra tank for the fryer oil installed in the spare tire well.
"It starts on regular diesel," Goldammer said. "The heat from the engine warms the grease and when it's warm and viscous I flip a switch to turn it over to the other tank."
The car came with a fuel pump and a five micron filter unit to remove particles from the oil. Goldammer bought pipe fillings and mounted the pump and filter on a hand truck.
Goldammer said he thinks the mileage for fryer oil may be a little less than diesel fuel, but it's free.
"Culvers has very strict usage policy for how long we can use the oil in the fryer," Goldammer said, "I've got more than I need."
There's only one more modification Goldammer intends to make on his car. He's waiting for his new vanity plates, "Fat Burners."