VITA TECHNICAL BULLETIN
WASTE OIL-FIRED OVEN
This simple, low-cost bakery oven is fueled by waste,
crankcase oil. The
design has undergone extensive testing.
It is designed to be built from locally available materials.
This oven is capable of maintaining a 160 degrees C to 190
C baking temperature on .946 to 1.4 liters of waste oil
per hour depending upon chimney draft.
This oven is a result of
a student design project by University of Maryland students
under the direction of VITA Volunteer Clifford L.
other members of the project are:
Leon Chuck, Richard Freeman,
Morris Hoover, Maureen Houle, Barry Kornett, and Thomas
Please send testing results, comments, suggestions, and
for further information to:
1600 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 500
Arlington, Virgnia 22209 USA
Tel: 703/276-1800 * Fax:
Revised April 1984
WASTE OIL-FIRED OVEN
The development of small-scale industries in many countries
been hampered by the scarcity and cost of high-grade fuels.
This is particularly true for bakeries in small villages,
must presently rely on the use of low-grade fuels such as
or dried dung for economical operation.
At the same time, large
amounts of used automotive crankcase oil are discarded.
motor vehicle oil is usually dumped into the nearest field
waste oil is a refined petroleum product, which
with special handling has considerable potential as an
The oven design in this bulletin makes use of waste oil
preheating or mixing with other, more expensive fuels.
range for building this oven is from $25 to $60 (US, 1980).
* Drill and
Metal punch (3.175cm)
* Saw for cutting
* Drum, steel,
* Drum, steel,
* Tin can,
* Sheet metal,
medium (26) gauge, about .058cm thick (approximately
122cm x 122 cm)
* Steel angle iron,
2.54cm (183cm long), 122.04cm left for
* Threaded steel
rod, .95cm dia. (25.4cm long)
* Steel strap, .63cm
wide x 15.24cm long x .32cm thick
* Galvanized pipe,
.31cm, each end threaded 5.08cm (38cm long)
reducers, 1.27 to .63cm (2), or fittings to serve
as nuts to hold
above galvanized pipe to tin can fuel tank
coupler, .63cm (1)
* Petcock (auto
radiator drain valve), .63cm (1)
* Wood lathe, 2.54 x
1.27 (25.4cm long)
* Cheesecloth or
other loosely woven cloth (183 sq cm)
* Rubber or plastic
washers, flat, .63cm (2)
* Screws, wood,
* Screws, metal,
* Nuts, .95cm x
Using the acetylene torch, cut the top off of the 55-gallon
Turn the drum upside down and, starting with any diameter
across the bottom, scribe the locating lines as shown in
Continue the diameter line on the side of the drum to locate
the ventilation and drain holes, as shown in Figure 3.
Place the 42-gallon drum on top of the upside down 55-gallon
so that the edge of the 42-gallon drum lines up with the
lines scribed in Step Two (as shown in Figure 2).
Scribe a line around the circumference of the 42-gallon
Remove the 42-gallon drum and set aside.
Using either a hacksaw or an acetylene torch, cut a hole in
55-gallon drum on the line scribed in Step Three.
Make the cut as neat and accurate as possible as the piece
out will be used as the door of the oven.
Using either the 3.175cm punch or the torch, cut a drain
as close to the bottom of the 55-gallon drum as possible.
Center this hole on the locating line scribed on the side of
the drum, as shown in Figure 3.
Using the punch or the torch, cut six or seven evenly spaced
ventilation holes along the side locating line as shown in
Using Figure 4 as a suggested locating guide, cut out the
metal pieces for the front and rear trough supports as shown
Still using Figure 4 as a guide, cut out the sheet metal
for the upper and lower covers as shown in Figure 6.
Braze the support brackets to the sides of the front trough
support (see Figure 5).
Locate the front trough support inside the 55-gallon drum so
that the "V" cut in the support is on the same
line as the
center of the drain and ventilation holes.
Weld this assembly to the drum about 7.62cm behind the drain
Support the 42-gallon drum on a level surface so that when
55-gallon drum is placed over it, the top edge of the
drum just lines up with the hole cut in the bottom of the
drum as shown in Figure 7.
Carefully weld the top edge of the 42-gallon drum to the
of the 55-gallon drum as shown in Figure 8.
Cut a 30.48cm length of angle iron from the 183cm piece.
Turn the drums over (55-gallon drum top side up) and weld
angle iron cut in Step Twelve to the bottom of the 42-gallon
drum and the sides of the 55-gallon drum as shown in Figure
forms the rear support for the 42-gallon drum.
Place the drum with the ventilation holes facing down.
either the sabre saw or the torch, cut a 10.16cm diameter
for the chimney in the top rear of the 55-gallon drum,
approximately as shown in Figure 10.
Cut out a 10.16cm x 34.29cm piece of sheet metal (#4 in
Figure 4) and form it into a 10.16cm diameter tube.
Place this piece
into the hole cut in Step 14 and weld around the
as shown in Figure 10.
Cut out the remaining chimney pieces (#1 and #2, as shown in
Figure 4). Form
these pieces into 10.16cm diameter tubes with a
slight taper so the ends can be fitted together to form the
Weld the seams of the chimney pieces formed in Step Sixteen.
Cut the threaded rod into two 12.70cm lengths.
Cut out a 30.48cm x 2.54cm section of sheet metal and drill
1.12cm holes in it as shown in Figure 11.
Weld this piece inside the 55-gallon drum approximately
from the top (refer to Figure 9).
Assemble the rear trough
support as shown in Figure 11 above.
Cut the top off the one-gallon tin can.
Drill a .95cm hole in
the bottom of the can so that when feed pipe is inserted it
will be clear of upper cover.
Assemble the components of the drip feed system as shown in
Figure 9 and Figure 12.
Cut two 15.24cm lengths of angle iron and form the reservoir
support as shown in Figure 13.
Half of bottom part of each
piece needs to be cut away before bending.
Weld the supports to
the 55-gallon drum as indicated in Figure 13.
Cut out a 30.48cm x 2.54cm piece of sheet metal (#9 in
Figure 4) and form the door handle. Cut
two pieces of wooden lathe to
fit inside and outside of the formed handle as shown in
Figure 13. Weld the completed handle
assembly to the door.
Cut off three 5.0 8cm lengths of .63cm strap and form as
in Figure 15.
Weld the formed strap pieces to the 55-gallon drum as shown
Using .31cm sheet metal screws, secure the top cover to the
rear of the oven by bending the mounting tabs over and
four holes through both the tabs and the side of the drum.
Figure 17 shows a view of the completed oven.
The beauty of this particular waste oil oven lies in its
design and ease of operation.
Following just a few mandatory
operating procedures will allow the oven to be used to its
fullest cooking capabilities.
To ensure safe operation, before starting up the oven it is
* The oven is in a
semi-enclosed area with adequate ventilation
* No combustible
materials are within eight meters of the oven.
* The chimney and
combustion chamber between the two drums is
obstructions, carbon build-up, and remaining oil
* The drip-feed
system is free of obstructions for easy adjustment
of the fuel flow
* An oil collection
container is carefully placed to catch all
oil overflow from
Once all of the above precautions are met, begin preparing
start the oven.
First, make sure that the drip feed valve is
completely closed and that the reservoir is full of oil.
Next, open the drip feed valve, just slightly, to allow a
of oil to form on the nozzle.
This will prime the system for
immediate operation at the time of firing.
The most critical of all the start-up procedures involves
preparing of the wick and combustion trough.
It is essential
that the next sequence of steps is carefully followed.
* Remove the trough
from the oven. Clean both the trough
the metal rod
completely. Any remaining ash or oil
will impede the
fuel flow thus severely reducing the oven's
* Wrap the entire
length of the metal rod in the wick material.
* Place the wrapped
rod in the trough.
* Liberally douse
the rod and wick with fuel oil so that it is
* Place the trough
halfway into the oven combustion chamber so
it is resting on the bracket.
* Light with a match
the endmost portion of the soaked wick.
* Place the trough
completely into the oven.
* Begin a very slow
drip feed into the trough at about one drop
This will allow the flame to burn clown the
trough, which in
turn will raise the combustion chamber
temperature to the
point of flashing.
* Once the trough is
burning down its entire length, increase
the fuel flow rate
to the point where the single drops are no
distinguishable and a steady fluid stream has not yet
* At this point your
oven is operational. Wait fifteen
before using so
that the peak temperature may be reached.
Once the operating temperature has been reached, make frequent
checks upon the drip-feed system and the troughs.
It is important
that the fuel reservoir be kept at least one-half full to
maintain a constant fluid flow rate.
It is also necessary to prevent fouling in the trough.
could lead either to flame burnout or fuel overflow
Fuel overflow flashing will cause uneven and sometimes
In this case, it is best
to turn off the fuel supply and to allow the internal
to die out. Then
In closing down the oven, it is best if the fuel supply is
turned off and the troughs immediately smothered.
avoids the annoyance of incomplete combustion and its
When the oven is cool, it is best if the troughs are then
cleaned. This avoids
complications such as gumming up or
hardening of the oil in the trough.
It also facilitates
start-up procedures the next time the oven is to be used.
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Waste oil from engine crankcases or gear boxes can
be a useful, low-cost fuel in certain applications.
However, users of waste engine oil are
warned that the oil might contain lead from leaded
gasoline. The lead
would be released into the air
as the oil burned.
It could be a hazard to people
working around the oven.
Users of waste engine oil should have the oil
tested to find out if it contains lead.
chamber of the oven should be sealed tightly to
keep combustion products away from the food being
baked. The oven
should be used out of doors or in
a well-ventilated place.
The chimney should be
high enough to carry combustion products well away
from the work area.
Do not use engine oil to fire space heaters or
food dryers. Waste
oil from electric transformers
should not--repeat, not--be used as fuel in any
Transformer oil contains poly
chlorinated biphenol (PCB) compounds.
PCB is highly
toxic and should not be burned at all.
should not even be handled at all.
If you think
your waste oil supply might come from electric
transformers, do not take chances.
Do not burn the