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Wednesday, 9 January, 2002, 13:10 GMT
Driver fills up with chip fat
An eco-friendly car enthusiast has transformed his vehicle to run on chip fat.

Alan Collins, 47, of Hady Crescent, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, wanted a green alternative to diesel that would not spoil his car's performance.

Since the conversion his 13,000 Audi A4 has notched up more than 1,000 miles of trouble-free motoring by using fuel harvested from a quarter of an acre of sunflowers.

As sunflower oil and fat are not mineral-based fuels, the emissions are less harmful.

I reckon anyone with a bit of know-how could change their cars too. It's not rocket science.

Alan Collins, car enthusiast

Mr Collins said: "It does sound a little unusual but it really makes perfect sense.

"It wasn't complicated to change the engine.

"Most of the parts I used could be picked up from any Halfords.

"I had to order a few special valves but nothing expensive.

"I reckon anyone with a bit of mechanical know-how could change their cars too. It's not rocket science."

Mr Collins, a shift supervisor at a wire company, thought of the idea while queuing for diesel during the fuel crisis in 2000.

Sunflower tax

He overhauled his car's diesel engine and made a "duel-fuel" system running on both cooking fat and fossil fuels.

The car runs on diesel for the first few miles while the oil is heated to the correct temperature.

Once it reaches 80C, with one flick of a switch on the control panel, Mr Collins is driving on fat.

The whole operation only took the self-taught motor mechanic one weekend to carry out.

Mr Collins said he can get about 45 miles to the gallon.

The chip fat does not save Mr Collins anything on tax, though.

He must pay 45.8p fuel tax on the sunflower oil.

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See also:

30 Jul 01 | Business
EU threat over car emissions
24 Oct 00 | Africa
The car that runs on air
28 Mar 00 | Sci/Tech
UK lags on riding 'green wave'
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