Archive for April, 2009

Biodegradable Oil-Reply

I followed a mate’s Landcruiser Diesel into the tennis club the other day, to be greeted by the overwhelming smell of fish oil coming from the exhaust.

He told me that he was running it on recovered cooking oil from the local restaurants and clubs- he works at the municipal refuse dump, so it’s free (at present).

There’s a thriving collection industry springing up to collect this oil, he tells me.

Now those clever Americans are marketing a lubricating engine oil made from rendering down beef tallow- an animal fat, not vegetable nor mineral from the ground,

Each cow contributes 90 kg of tallow fat to the process. I wonder where the energy to render it down (by boiling) comes from -oil, coal, natural gas or animal fat?



April 14, 2009 at 4:24 am Leave a comment

Revolutions in the tyre industry

Trivia question – two North Carolina residents changed the course of the world in 12 seconds 104 years ago. What were their first names?

Only 2 out of 700 (majority Americans) knew the answer – Orville and Wilbur.

As a result I have a very nice travel clock. Thank you Princess Alaskan Cruises. Took the mind off the 7 metre waves in the Bay of Alaska too!

So after 3 years or so, the Wright Brothers changed from skids to wheels and tyres (tires). These were made by Goodyear.

Goodyear are still a major supplier to the world’s aviation and defence industries, and they celebrate the centenary of the first tyres made specially for aircraft this year.

The Wright brothers chased weight savings assiduously, and Goodyear made special lightweight tyres for them. Aviation designers still are chasing weight reduction and tyre performace. Latest development are tyres for the Gulfstream jet which have an aluminium bead wire core, rather than steel. This saves 1.3 kg per tyre!

Want to know more about Goodyear‘s centenary of aviation tyres? Go to

April 14, 2009 at 4:21 am 1 comment

Green revolution in auto-industry

Firestone Autocare shops in two American States are test marketing the use of twice-refined, used motor oil during routine car servicing.

The mind boggles that sufficient oil is available for collection, re-refining, and distribution to justify the program.

However, economics will determine whether the program is ultimately successful or not.

Recycling used oil uses 85% less energy than processing oil from new, Firestone executives claim. Many parallels to recycling tyres by retreading them can be drawn.

Good on them for having a go.

If you want to know more, go to

April 14, 2009 at 4:20 am Leave a comment