Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick blog-note to our friends near & far. As with many businesses this past year, operations here at Evergreen have slimmed down a bit. But we are still here; we are even on Facebook, if you want to look us up there! The PA-based Smarter Fuel oil is no longer with us, but we continue to collect and filter local grease. Our WVO collection collective had one enthusiastic meeting in the spring, leading to no plans in particular. We are still searching for the right location to base our collective out of.

Interestingly, the clamor for WVO fuel systems quieted sometime around the last presidential election. Even the forum on greasecar.com fell into a conversational lull! Sure, we have installed new systems in 2009, but gone are the days of the 4-month wait-list. More common is a week of maintenance appointments, consulting with owners of second-hand grease systems, and routine diesel repair. This summer, Shelly branched out and started working at a local organic farm, which adds nicely to the window-box kale and tomatoes we grow at the shop. (The last tomatoes are ripening on the windowsill as we write!)

With Thanksgiving coming up, we really wanted to take a moment to appreciate all our friends and amazing local customers. Also, thanks to those who come to Evergreen from great distances just because you appreciate Daryl's skills, knowledge, and knack for getting that diesel to run happy again.

Near or far, we wish you the best as the holiday season begins.
Have a good one.
And don't forget to grab that grease from the turkey fryer, before someone else tosses it!

~ Shelly, Daryl, Colman, and Felix

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

N.B. >> Meeting Date Change!

The Grease Collection-Collaboration meeting is being moved ahead by one week; please note this if you are planning to attend. It turns out that our son is performing in the FRCPS Variety Show that night, and it's something we don't want to miss.

Let's try it again for Thursday, March 19th (the last official day of winter... yeah!!!). Again, 6-8 pm at the shop. See you then.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Oil Collection Collaboration, Continued...

Hear ye, hear ye:
With the melting of the ice in our parking lot, we've realized it's time for that meeting. The WVO meeting!

This is an opportunity for local greasers to get together and brainstorm collection-filtration-collaboration possibilities. We figure, who wouldn't want to share grease chores once in a while?

Date: Thursday, March 12th @ 6 pm
Location: Evergreen Motors
Daryl and Shelly Beck
368 High Street, Greenfield

Let us know if you'd like to come. Pass it on to other greasers who might be interested. Let's see if we can't build a dependable, local supply of beautiful clean WVO.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Few Words About Our Intern

The Four Rivers Charter Public School has a really cool internship program for 11th graders. The students are basically charged with identifying, approaching, and planning for 5 days of full-time work at a business of their choice. Every spring since we opened, Evergreen has hosted a Four Rivers intern.

Last year, it was Caleb, a young man whose maturity, skills, and eagerness to participate in all aspects of the business impressed us mightily. When the official week was through, he arranged to continue with us on Friday afternoons. Then he stayed on clear through the summer. Come to think of it, he still comes by once a week! If you regularly stop by the shop, chances are he's pumped some oil for you, or chatted with you about your car.

When Caleb heads off to Michigan Tech next fall, it will be in his newly-painted diesel Mercedes, which he converted to run on grease just as senior year rolled around. We gotta say... this kid is no slacker. While managing a full load of high school classes, a social life, a job, sports, and his work with us, he also found time to take classes at Greenfield Community College on electricity, PV, sustainability, and technology. I don't care how many cynics declaim the era of green collar jobs and whine about the problems with a renewable energy future. All it takes is a couple of thoughtful, innovative young people like this one to restore our faith in positive change for the future.
Here's to you, Caleb!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Reason to Love Coffee in 2009

Since we opened the shop in Greenfield, Daryl and I have joked about expanding beyond just auto mechanics... like maybe having a movie projector and hosting weekly films? or doing art openings? or brewing coffee?

One new reason we can love the coffee idea: The American Chemical Society's article last month espousing spent coffee grounds as an untapped source for biofuels.

In the new study, Mano Misra, Susanta Mohapatra, and Narasimharao Kondamudi note that the major barrier to wider use of biodiesel fuel is lack of a low-cost, high quality source, or feedstock, for producing that new energy source. Spent coffee grounds contain between 11 and 20 percent oil by weight. That’s about as much as traditional biodiesel feedstocks such as rapeseed, palm, and soybean oil.

Growers produce more than 16 billion pounds of coffee around the world each year. The used or “spent” grounds remaining from production of espresso, cappuccino, and plain old-fashioned cups of java, often wind up in the trash or find use as soil conditioner. The scientists estimated, however, that spent coffee grounds can potentially add 340 million gallons of biodiesel to the world’s fuel supply.

Turns out all those antioxidants could make for very efficient combustion. And just think of the aromas! With a tired old year behind us and a new calendar ahead, we do like the idea of America's favorite imported beverage serving one more use before it hits the compost.
Happy 2009!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tofu "Special Reserve" Grease

Tofu A Go-Go, home of the Leslie and Pretty Good Peanut Sauce, Crack Tofu and the ever-enticing Crispy Chew, does not have a fryolater. What they do have is a wicked big hood over their cooking operation, inside of which there is a small canister. This canister condenses whatever vaporized oil passes through the unit, and collects it. Verrry slowly.
The last time we were in for lunch, Max and Star presented us with a precious gift, which you see here pictured. This jar of "Tofu Grease" (reclaimed canola WVO!) represents hundreds of delicious servings of tempeh reubens, Grilled Cheese O'Ramas, Indonesian Sautes, and General Max's Tofu. Sure, you can't fill your tank with it, but what it lacks in quantity it abundantly makes up for in attitude and je ne sais quoi. We probably don't even have to filter it! We are in a bit of a quandary, however... We wonder what do you do with a small quantity of very special oil... save it for a special occasion? Like the inaugural grease-trip when you finally convert the Peugeot? Or use it for the traditional autumn hike in Vermont? We haven't exactly decided. But it certainly won't go to waste. As we watch the autumn trees flaming across the street and blanketing the corner with orange and gold, we're also basking in the yellow glow of our Special Reserve Tofu Grease on the windowsill...Reminding us that it's time for lunch again. Tofu?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Longevity of Diesel Engines

We all know that diesel engines can log hundreds of thousands of miles, often outliving the body of the vehicle. But how to ensure that kind of longevity for your engine? As the colder weather sets in, it's time to pay good attention to your engine temps before switching over to WVO; also remember to backflush well and drive on diesel before shutting down for the day.

With regard to keeping your engine happy, here's an interesting piece that I found at www.mbz.org.

Diesel Longevity

If there is any "secret" to what I'm doing, it's that well-designed diesel engines need only clean fuel and to be run in their optimal temperature range regularly and they will deliver LONG trouble-free service, so long as the oil/filters of suitable quality are changed at prudent intervals. When they are abused (run for short intervals and at low speeds), even extraordinary maintenance will not offset the destructive consequences and the engines WILL deteriorate and at some point they will fail not from poor design, but from poor application.

There are many thousands of diesel engines that have balked at the abuse their owners have subjected them to that could be revived, but maintenance alone WILL not do the job. They MUST also be driven as they were designed to be driven or they will prematurely fail, the victim of inappropriate use. There are also some engines out there that have gone over the edge and will NOT be successfully revived. Fortunately for us [diesel enthusiasts], the bulk of the mechanics working on these machines (conditioned by the gasoline car maintenance that comprises the vast majority of their experience) will condemn almost all of these cars, allowing us to buy them at bargain prices and restore the majority of them to proper function.

- Marshall Booth, PhD.