If you are looking for PlantDrive components, please visit our new online store by clicking here. If you need some assistance, go to the contact link above, and send us an email. If you would like to know more about the whole history of PlantDrive and the process of converting diesel engines to run on plant oil...read on!
First, some history. PlantDrive was originally known as Neoteric Biofuels. Neoteric was started by Edward Beggs and Henry Mackaay in Kelowna, BC, Canada in late 1999, just as Ed was finishing a Master of Science thesis at Royal Roads University on the subject, which he gave the appropriately lengthy title of "Renewable oil fuels and diesel engines as components of sustainable system design". You can find that here. Originally, it was not clear to either of the founders which biofuels direction the business might go, since Ed had been researching both biodiesel and straight vegetable oil (SVO) systems. Eventually, the decision was made to work with SVO. It was working so well that one day we just looked around and said "why are we working with these chemicals and ending up with all this brown crude glycerine, when we can just filter the stuff and burn it in the engine directly?"
Early on, Ed was phoned by Craig Reece in Berkeley, California to do some consulting for Craig's project vehicle, a Land Rover that he was interested in converting (for more about that very interesting project vehicle, click here!). As Craig became more interested in the subject, he started arranging conversions for others. Later, when Henry became overly busy with his property development work and decided to sell his shares, both he and Ed felt that a phone call to Craig was in order, to see if he would like to buy Henry's half of the company. Craig enthusiastically responded in the affirmative, and the company now had both a new co-owner, and more of a presence in the US market. (Craig later retired from the business after a number of years of very active work on it, and re-sold his shares to Ed. Craig and Ed still yak about cars, PlantDrive conversions, and life in general on a regular basis, it was a great business partnership, and a ton of fun!) Before long, workshops were being conducted all over the place, including one on Vancouver Island. It was here that Ed was introduced to Dr. Björn Ratjen, who became an active dealer/installer, and today is the owner of the online store where you are taken if you click the online store link above.
The early Neoteric Biofuels kits were really basic, but also very inexpensive, and got a lot of people started on trying plant oil fuel. Most of the pioneers would start with an older, simple diesel vehicle. As time went on, and more experience and positive results were accumulated, the newer, more expensive, more complex engines were converted.
The kits and filtration systems (both for preparing the fuel, and then for on-board fuel system filtration) evolved, and we added the Vegtherm inline electric heater and the VM2 and VM3 coolant-heated filters along the way, as our own products, along with using some off-the-shelf components from industry. Our role these days is primarily in supply of components that we package into kits on an individual basis - people have different needs for a conversion depending on where they are (how cold the winters get), and their own preferences, so this works best. A few emails and/or phone calls, we put together a quote on the necessary components and perhaps installation services, and go from there.