Vegetable-Oil Driven Cars the Ultimate in Recycling

December 3, 2012

Welcome To The Age Of Urban MiningIt’s 9 a.m. Wednesday, and Chris Ritter is at the back of the Hot Purple Energy’s Palm Springs offices about to fill the tank of one of the company’s trucks — with recycled vegetable oil collected from local Mexican restaurants.

Several 5-gallon jugs and larger tanks line the shelves of the company’s storage space, each dark with used oil and sediment that collects at the bottom.

“The only difference is it’s a little slow on the takeoff,” the construction supervisor at the Palm Springs solar company said of driving the rig on vegetable oil instead of diesel.

Ritter is also one of a group of Hot Purple employees who will race a veggie oil-powered car in a two-day race for clunkers, whimsically titled the 24 Hours of LeMons, set for next weekend at the Chuckwalla Valley Raceway in Desert Center, off Interstate 10 about 50 miles east of Indio.

It won’t be the first time a car running on recycled vegetable oil has competed in the race, said Nick Pon, whose official title is associate perpetrator of LeMons, which started as a joke in 2006 and has since turned into a full-time business.



By K Kaufmann for The Desert Sun