The next time you smell fried chicken on the street, it may not be from a nearby restaurant but from the exhaust pipe of a vehicle driving past.
Mechanical engineer Samuel “Chips” Guevara said he had tinkered with some 30 vehicles, including trucks, to make them run on ordinary cooking oil.
In a recent interview in Quezon City, he said his own 20-year-old Mitsubishi Pajero, for example, runs on used oil—a technological feat advertised by a bumper sticker that reads: “Amoy Prito (smells like something fried).”
“The exhaust really smells like something’s frying, and it’s all because of the used vegetable oil,” said the 35-year-old Guevara, who runs AlterEnergy Systems Inc., a Makati City-based firm which promotes used cooking oil as an alternative motoring fuel.
He converted his Pajero using his patented conversion kit called the “Veggie Oil Car System” which allows diesel engines to run on vegetable oil.
The P35,000 kit basically raises the temperature of the veggie oil for it to become combustible, he explained.
The idea for the kit came from a similar technology he discovered in Boston, where he bought a sample kit in 2006 and gave it his own twists and spins.
For his creations, he currently gets his supply of used oil from hotels and restaurants, and removes its impurities through filters.
Earlier, Guevara tried to convince jeepney drivers in Makati City to adopt his system for its environmental and cost-saving benefits. “Unfortunately, I did not have much luck with it. The drivers were afraid of taking a risk and had some misconceptions,” he recalled with a chuckle.
He has since moved on to promoting his advocacy to private vehicle owners, some of whom were impressed. Since 2007, his company has converted around 30 vehicles, including Mercedes Benzes, Pajeros, Ford Rangers, Toyota Land Cruisers and trucks.
Guevara was at the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman on March 7 to take part in a fair sponsored by the One Liter of Light project and the UP Junior Marketing Association.
“Hopefully, jeepney drivers will be more open to the idea. I know the technology will catch on some day, so why not begin it with those who may need it most?” he said.