Michael Vaughan and his friend John live in school buses that run on veggie oil that they’ve converted into RVs. Both buses run on used vegetable oil and have a refinery on board the bus so that they can put any oil in their “bulk tanks” and filter it into their “day tanks” while on the road.
Michael’s has a refrigerator, sink, bed, and two couches. There is a solar panel on the top that he can use all the electricals on board the bus (fridge, lamps, laptop, etc.). Michael lived in his bus full time last summer and both he and John are planning on living in their bus full time this summer and tour the festival circuit (they would do it full-full-time if we weren’t currently in school).
Both conversions were done by Joseph Hollay of Cheney Technical High School in Manchester, CT for around $1,000.
Michael explains below how the system works.
Alright, basically the way the veggie systems work is we have a big tank called the bulk tank for putting any kind of vegetable oil in. Since we mainly use use vegetable oil because its free or incredibly cheap (at most it costs around $0.25/gallon), the bulk tank is used for mass storage. It then goes through a series of filters, first two wire mesh screens, then a 15-micron fuel filter, then a 10-micron fuel filter to get all of the contaminants, water, chunks, etc. out of the oil. It is pumped through these filters using a standard fuel pump that are usually used for pumping fuel just like at a gas station. Once it is through the filters, it is pumped into the second tank called the day tank that is used like a normal fuel tank on any car.
We then run the fuel line along the length of the bus along coolant lines to heat it up enough to be used in the engine. The way it is pumped along the coolant lines is simply that the engine itself causes enough suction.
The veggie line then is put into the diesel line with a shutoff valve for when we want to run straight veggie or a mix or straight diesel. Therefore when we have the shutoff valve on, the engine uses veggie and when it is off it uses diesel. The only thing that makes there a need for conversion for running veggie is the contaminants and the thickness of the oil, which is why we run the veggie line along the coolant lines to heat it up and thereby make it less thick.
You can see more photos and learn more about their buses at Juan Way Tour.