This will not end well

With the economy as it is at the moment, unemployment rife and actual inflation a whole lot more than the figures say it should be – R52 for a litre of fruit juice: WTF?!? – you can’t blame South Africans for wanting to try and save a bit here and there.

But there are things which you should try yourself, and there are things that you shouldn’t. Lest we forget that during lockdown, homemade pineapple beer became very popular. But homemade alcohol can be dangerous. Pineapple beer killed at least two people and another homebrew killed 19 more.

So, one can only imagine where this idea is going to lead:

Honestly, what could go wrong? I mean, I can’t be alone in seeing ruined engines, garage fires and yes, some people drinking the stuff “just to see how it tastes”.

Biodiesel is produced through a multi-step process called transesterification that requires the mixing, heating, cooling and filtration of the oils or fats combined with methanol and a catalyst.

Methanol is what killed those 19 people.

Common catalysts are caustic potash (potassium hydroxide) or caustic soda (sodium hydroxide).

Ah Jesus. Caustic soda is called “caustic” for a reason. Potash is what dissolved Desmond Tutu’s body.
I’m just saying.

The process is quite intricate but does not require higher-grade chemistry.

While this line is clearly meant to indicate just how straightforward the process is, I can’t help but read it and think that we’re going to have people who only got to Grade 7 in General Science having a pop at making gallons and gallons of this highly flammable liquid in their homes.

Several websites provide guides on the process,

Oh, well that’s ok then. As long as the loadshedding doesn’t take the internet out at some vital stage or other.

Despite the alleged savings which could be made, I’m putting this article – and the whole idea of homemade diesel – down as a really bad idea.

Don’t do this.