“Do not try this at home.” That’s the warning carried with a great many things—but not so for Lyle Rudensey and his homemade biodiesel processor. The green-thinking Seattle resident uses a 15-gallon plastic water tank and an old electric water heater to brew the alternative fuel to keep his 2002 Volkswagen station wagon motoring. And now he’s showing others how to do it.

“Anybody could do it”, said the self-proclaimed biodiesel consultant, who is able to produce the fuel for a thrifty 50 cents per gallon in his garage. “It’s pretty easy to make, but it’s tricky to do it right every time.” Rudensey said the process yields 50-gallon batches in a matter of five or six days. His process requires discarded cooking oil from restaurants, as well as methanol and potassium hydroxide. “You’ve got to overcome your fears of doing a little chemistry,” he advised.

Nicknamed “BioLyle,” the 52-year old teaches others at a local community college on how to create their own home biodiesel systems. The class will allow Rudensey’s students to build a biodiesel processing system at a fraction of the cost of pre-manufactured processors. A former researcher with a degree in molecular biology, Rudensey believes that widespread se of biodiesel could have an enormously positive and lasting impact on the environment.