Frequently Asked Questions About Oil Recycling

What kinds of oil can be donated to ReFuel Pgh?

Refuel Pgh is only collecting vegetable oils which remain in a liquid state at room temperature. The most common of these oils are peanut, canola, soybean, olive, sunflower and corn oil. When these oils are collected after they have been used, they are called Waste Vegetable Oil or WVO.

The following substances are NOT accepted for collection: hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil, solid fats like butter & margarine, grease from meats such as bacon, solid vegetable fats like coconut oil, synthetic or petroleum based oils such as motor oil, vegetable oil contaminated with water, soapsuds, or large food scraps, or any other hazardous liquid.

What happens to the oil after it is collected?

ReFuel Pgh partners with Fossil Free Fuel who takes the oil to their shop in Braddock and uses a series of filters to bring the oil back to a state where it is freed of contaminants like water, food residue, and debris. The recycled oil is then used as a fuel in vehicles with diesel engines that have been converted to run on Straight Vegetable Oil.

What is Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO) and how can it be used for fuel?

The use of vegetable oil as an unmodified fuel in a diesel engine is known as Straight Vegetable Oil or SVO. SVO must be heated to decrease its viscosity in order for it to be used as fuel. Therefore the engine must be modified with a conversion kit to allow it to use SVO as fuel. Diesels that run on SVO also need some petroleum diesel to start the engine, heat the vegetable oil, and to flush the fuel system at the end of operation. Optimus Technologies (412-682-3064) is a local company that converts diesel engines to run on SVO.

Is vegetable oil a type of biodiesel fuel?

No. Vegetable oil, also known as pure plant oil, is an alternative fuel, but it is not biodiesel. Biodiesel is a chemically engineered fuel, including vegetable oil, catalyst chemicals and some form of ester alcohols which are often blended with petroleum diesel. Some of the vegetable oil collected by ReFuel Pgh is sold for use in the production of biodiesel.