Biodiesel Rental Cars from Bio-Beetle
Would you believe there exists a company that offers rental cars which are entirely powered by biodiesel? In support of their mission statement to be the “greenest” and “best” rental car company on the planet,
Eco Rental Cars began their environmentally conscious business endeavor in 2003 with only a single car. The company was not, and still isn’t, supported by a major car manufacturer. Powered by biodiesel, each Bio-Beetle has been purchased and developed individually by the founders as funds allow. The founders of Bio-Beetle believed their business venture was a great way to demonstrate environmental consciousness and have, therefore, slowly built the foundation for the only rental car company of its kind available.
For the unacquainted, biodiesel is a clean-burning fuel that is made from 100% renewable sources. It can be used in place of standard diesel fuel as well, which as we know is made from fossil fuels and is nonrenewable. In reality, most items that call for regular diesel fuel, such as vehicles and generators, can utilize this environmentally friendly alternative. In the case of Bio-Beetle, the company utilizes 100% vegetable-oil-based biodiesel. In fact, most of the biodiesel is actually made from used cooking oil.
The process for utilizing used cooking oil to power a vehicle is quite simple. Restaurants that cook fried foods like French Fries or Fried Chicken normally operate deep fat fryers. When it is time to change the oil in these fryers, it is generally done so by a pumping company contracted by the restaurant for such purposes. The used cooking oil that is collected from the process can then be brought by the pumping company to a biodiesel processor. Once at the processor the oil is filtered and then put through a process known as Transesterification. It is a process by which the vegetable oil is mixed with an alcohol (typically methanol) and a catalyst (lye) to separate and create two important commodities: biodiesel (also known as methyl esters) and glycerin (the common ingredient in soap).
The result of this process is extremely friendly to environment, and it supports the zero-waste philosophy of the Bio-Beetle company. Yet in addition to utilizing used cooking oil, Bio-Beetle Eco Rental Cars takes it one step further, employing earth friendly coolants, synthetic engine oil and non toxic cleaners as well. And the idea is spreading, at least in terms of the company’s influence: in 2006 Bio-Beetle expanded its business beyond Maui, Hawaii and into Los Angeles, California to serve the LAX airport and vicinity. Although it may be small steps at first, Bio-Beetle is definitely showing the nation what measures it can take to help protect the planet today.