Converting Lawn Mower to Run on Vegetable OIl

Conversion of Lawn Mower to Run on Veggie Oil 


In Spring of 2011, the Green EDGE Fund financed the conversion of an Oberlin College Grounds Department lawn mower to be run on vegetable oil. This project is expected to reduce diesel consumption by approximately 125 gallons annually.


Campus Dining Services use large amounts of vegetable oil to cook food for students, and this waste product provides renewable energy at no additional financial cost. Although vegetable oil burned by the engine still produces carbon dioxide emissions, it eliminates the emission of nitrous oxide associated specifically with the burning of fossil fuels. Most importantly, this project reuses a food waste product that would otherwise be discarded as waste while reducing fossil fuel consumption.

Cost-Benefit Estimation:

Equipment costs totaled $800 and labor costs amounted to $750. A $200 buffer was included for unforeseen costs, bringing the total allocation to $1,750. Annual return on investment is estimated at $500 per year or 29% based on previous rates of diesel fuel consumption by the converted vehicle. At this rate, the project is expected to pay back fully in approximately 3.4 years.