Vegetable Oil Fuel For A Lamp

Did you know that you can use Olive Oil as fuel for a do-it-yourself lamp that will produce as much light as a candle (or more)?

Did you know that the Romans and other ancients regularly burned olive oil in their lamps?

The concept is proven, and there’s no reason why it can’t work for you too.

Here’s how:


Note: Pure olive oil will not produce smoke, while other types of vegetable oils may produce some residual smoke while burning.

A number of years ago I posted ‘do-it-yourself’ instructions on how to make an olive oil lamp.

Do-It-Yourself Olive Oil Lamp

Since then, I notice that you can now simply buy a similar olive oil lamp or the key parts that make up the lamp.

Olive Oil Lamp

Olive Oil Lamp Parts Kit

Given that many preparedness-minded folks have a ‘deep’ food pantry, likely including extra jugs of vegetable oils, the neat thing about an olive oil lamp (vegetable oil lamp) is that if your oils ever go rancid (they will after a year or two or maybe three – depending on storage conditions), you can use that oil for lamp fuel in one of these unique lamps!

Olive Oil Lamp Parts
-A jar
-A wick holder
-A wick

When I built a few of these lamps, I simply used a wide mouth canning jar, a coat hanger, and a cotton wick. I was initially surprised that I could use an oil that was not petroleum based to light a lamp.

Having done a little research regarding the safety comparison between kerosene fuel and olive oil, it became apparent how olive oil is safer…

Olive oil is not nearly as readily flammable as petroleum fuels, and you will notice this as it will take longer to light the wick. If the olive oil lamp is spilled, the oil will not flash-ignite like a petroleum fueled lamp certainly will…

The flash point of a material is a good indicator of how likely it is to catch on fire if there is an ignition source nearby. At the flash point, the material will have just enough vapor available to support a flame. The lower the flash point, the more of a fire danger the material is.

Flash point of kerosene: 100°F
Flash point of olive oil: 600°F

Auto-ignition temperature of kerosene: 428°F
Auto-ignition temperature of olive oil: 815°F

Here’s one that I made a few years ago:


CAUTION: As with any open flame, use care and caution. Respect the flame!

Has anyone else out there experimented with a vegetable oil lamp?


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