Half a billion gallons of it were brewed at home last year, and we're not talking beer. Homemade biodiesel is expanding from the days of hippies converting old electric water heaters to mainstream retailers offering safer, reliable processors, Wired reports. Anyone with the equipment, ranging from $3,000 to $13,500, can turn used veggie oil into the eco-friendly fuel.
Restaurants have been happy to give waste oil to home biodiesel labs for free, instead of paying for disposal. "It's a big win for everybody," a home brewer says, at least so far. But rising prices are turning waste oil into a valuable commodity that is being stolen nationwide. Now, a co-op brewery member says, "People do nasty stuff to get the grease." (Read more biodiesel stories.)