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Our disclaimer: All information contained here in is to be used for educational information only. We have to the best of our ability given true & factual information. We shall be held harmless if any of this information is incorrect & causes damage of any kind. You should always independently verify information you obtain on the web before undertaking any activity which may cause harm in any way.

What is & isn't BioDiesel?
Basic how to make BioDiesel Outline
How long does it take to make?
Is it is expensive to make BioDiesel?
Is it Complicated to build a BioDiesel reactor?
What kind of things will I need to make BioDiesel with?
Will I need to modify my Diesel Engine?
Will BioDiesel use Void my Warranty?
Is it SAFE to use BioDiesel in my Diesel Engine?
Will BioDiesel affect my Mileage or Power?

What does the term B100 mean?
Can I run BioDiesel in a Gasoline Engine?
Isn't BioDiesel simply vegetable oil thinned-out with a solvent?
Does BioDiesel require any vehicle conversion?
Must you use heat to make BioDiesel?
Should home made BioDiesel be "washed" & "Dried" before it can be used?
How clean must Vegetable Oil be for making BioDiesel?
Can my Waste Vegetable Oil contain any water?
Why must the Vegetable Oil & everything be Dry?
Can I switch back & forth between BioDiesel & Petroleum Diesel?

Isn't homemade BioDiesel inconsistent?
Do I have to pay road tax on BioDiesel fuel?


What is BioDiesel Anyway?

    BioDiesel is an environmentally friendly fuel that is legally recognized by the EPA  as an oxygenated clean burning highway engine fuel. The chemical name is "Methyl ester". It is made in a very simple chemical conversion process with a big name called Transesterification. BioDiesel can be made from either Animal fats or Vegetable Oil. A catalyst mixture of Lye & Alcohol are used to convert the oil into BioDiesel. The chemical process creates a compound called methyl ester which has nearly the same properties as regular diesel fuel such as cetane value, & viscosity and it burns much like #2 diesel but much cleaner.
      
    To make BioDiesel, the vegetable oil can be either New or Waste French Fry Oil, it really doesn't matter except to your wallet. Most homeowners find that waste vegetable oil is FREE form restaurants for the taking so WVO is the oil of choice for home BioDiesel makers.

    Once Transesterified the oil has undergone a chemical change & been chemically linked on a molecular level to the alcohol freeing up the glycerin which is drained off & discarded or made into soap. Following transesterification, some free alcohol remains in the raw BioDiesel because the chemical process relies on excess alcohol, however Washing removes the free unbound Alcohol. Properly washed BioDiesel does not contain any unbound residual Alcohol. As an added bonus, BioDiesel provides better lubrication for all fuel system components than #2 diesel fuel.

  BioDiesel is safer to store than #2 diesel fuel because Biodiesel has a higher flash point than regular diesel. It is classified as non-flammable by the National Fire Protection Agency.

   Don't be confused, BioDiesel is NOT vegetable oil that has been thinned with a solvent, nor is it SVO (straight vegetable oil). Either of those are unsafe to use in your diesel engine and could easily damage your expensive Injection Pump. SVO can potentially cause damage to your engine by coking it up inside. SVO is not EPA legally recognized as a highway engine fuel, it is dirty to combust & using it requires hundreds of dollars worth of unnecessary vehicle conversion. SVO must be heated to near 180F before burning it, this high temperature cooks your expensive Injection Pump resulting in premature failures. BioDiesel on the other hand is SAFE to use in any Diesel engine and you can burn it in your home Furnace when mixed with Heating oil it becomes what is known as BioHeat which can lower your heating bills significantly.
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Basic how to make BioDiesel Outline
The below is only an outline & should not be used to make BioDiesel

Actually, step #1 should read... Buy our Book!

  1. Heat vegetable oil in your processor tank while mixing and drying.

  2. In a separate container mix the appropriate amount of Lye & Alcohol together.

  3. Add the Lye/Alcohol mixture to the hot oil in the reactor tank while mixing for an hour.

  4. Turn everything off & allow the waste glycerin to settle to the bottom.

  5. Drain out the waste Glycerin.

  6. The amber liquid remaining is Raw BioDiesel Ester, some people use it now but we do not recommend this because it still contains unbound alcohol. We suggest making safe ASTM fuel per steps 7 thru 11.

  7. Mist and Bubble Wash the Raw BioDiesel with small amount of regular tap water to remove impurities.

  8. Repeat as required 2 to 4 more times or until wash water is almost clear.

  9. Polish the BioDiesel using either Heat and or Air Drying.

  10. Pump through a filter into a storage container or into your vehicle.
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How long does it take to make BioDiesel?

    Since you cannot change the laws of chemistry, All home owner processors take the same amount of time to process oil into BioDiesel. The only thing that separates these processors are Cost, Features and Safety. Our processor design offers the most features and highest safety for very little money. ALL home brew BioDiesel is made the same way chemically.

     The time required to produce BioDiesel fuel....  it's kind of like washing clothes. You don't actually do the washing... the machine does it, but it takes time to sort out the clothes & put them into the washing machine & the dryer. Actual hands on time for making BioDiesel is a lot like that. It requires about 1to 2 hours prep time pumping and heating the vegetable oil while you mixing the alcohol & the lye together. Add 15 minutes to put the mix into the processor & an hour to watch it mix.

    If you desire ASTM grade BioDiesel as we suggest, you'll need a few minutes to pump the BioDiesel into your wash tank & a few minutes here & there over the next several hours to empty out the wash water occasionally. Then about an hour to dry it in our drying tank. So, as you can see it isn't hands off, but it isn't all hands on time either. Hands on time varies depending on your source oil but about 3 to 6 hours of your time should make 40 gallons or more of ASTM grade BioDiesel. If desired you can make multiple batches simultaneously to get more BioDiesel output for about the same time investment.
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Is it is expensive to make BioDiesel?

    No, it is actually fairly cheap to produce. BioDiesel currently costs about $1 per gallon to make. Our processor costs between $150 to $250 to make depending on the cost of hardware in your area and if you can weld or not. So after considering your fuel cost savings you can readily see you will save serious money in short order.

    Everything needed to make BioDiesel can be paid for in the first few batches you make.

   ALL home brew BioDiesel is made the same way chemically. Since you cannot change the laws of chemistry, all decent homeowner processors take the same amount of time to process oil into BioDiesel. The only thing that separates these processors are Cost, Features and Safety and ours offers the most Features & Safety for very little of your money.

    When building or buying a BioDiesel processor, you can go expensive or cheap the choice is yours but the results are all pretty much the same. Others charge thousands for a factory made plastic processor that we believe is unsafe! Buy our Pretty Good BioDiesel Book for about $20 and get all the details & plans needed to construct your own Feature packed, state of the art Safe BioDiesel processor. If you can weld, our "All in One" Low Fume 55 gallon drum BioDiesel Processor design costs about $150 to build, or $250 if you need to have it welded up. The rest is simple bolt up pipe assembly that just about anybody can do.
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Is it Complicated to build a BioDiesel reactor?

    A Reactor vessel or Processor as it sometimes called is not hard to build at all. Basically it is a tank with a number of valves, some pipe, a pump and perhaps a heater. If you can turn a pipe wrench, you can build a processor. Worst case, you may have to get somebody (local high school, welding shop or friend) to weld a few fittings onto a 55 gallon steel drum for you. Basic tools required are a couple of pipe wrenches, a screwdriver, some pipe sealant, a drill some idea how a processor works & a set of plans which happens to be where our book comes in... click here.
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What kind of things will I need to make BioDiesel?

    The process reactor can be built out of a 55 gallon steel drum or a hot water heater. In our opinion, water heaters are a Bad choice, to understand why read our Dare to compare HERE. We use easy to find parts. You will need a small pump to mix & transfer fluids. Some valves, black steel pipe & pipe fittings from your local hardware store, braded vinyl hose, some pipe sealant, some insulation, a steel tank such as a new or salvaged 55 gallon open top drum with lid & clamp, some alcohol, lye & a source of free waste vegetable oil.
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Will I need to modify my Diesel Engine?

    NO, Since BioDiesel closely approximates regular Diesel fuel in burning characteristics such as Cetane rating & Viscosity it does not require any vehicle conversion. It is has a much higher lubricating property's and is very slightly more viscous which may help by sealing the injector piston seals better.
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Will BioDiesel Void my Warranty?

    NO, All diesel engine companies warrant the product they make "engines". They warrant the engines they make for “materials and workmanship.” If there is a problem with an engine part or with engine operation due to an error in manufacturing or assembly within the prescribed warranty period, the problem will be covered by the engine company. Engine companies do not manufacture fuel or fuel components & do not warrant any fuel, whether that fuel is BioDiesel or Fossil Diesel. For details read Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act

    Click on the following link to discover what your OEM engine manufacturers official position statement about biodiesel usage is. This links to a number of OEM position statements regarding the use of BioDiesel in engines manufactured by automotive, industrial & agricultural vehicle & equipment manufacturers. We currently have the official OEM position statements from Case, Caterpillar, Dodge, Cummins, Detroit Diesel, Ford, PowerStroke, GM, DuraMax, International, John Deere, Kubota, Mack, Mercedes Benz, New Holland, Nissan, StanaDyne, Volvo, and VW diesel, click the link below to access them.

Official Vehicle Manufacturers Fuel Warranty Statements

Vehicle Fuel Warranty Statements

    Check the owners manual, most major engine companies have formal statements regarding the use of BioDiesel. Many state that blends up to B20 are ok. Some engine companies have already specified that the BioDiesel must meet ASTM D-6751 as a condition. It is anticipated that the entire industry will incorporate the ASTM D-6751 BioDiesel standard into their owner's manuals over a short period of time since the EPA is  thinking about forcing fuel makers into making B20 available at the pump. B20 is 20% BioDiesel in #2 diesel fuel.
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Is it SAFE to use BioDiesel in my Diesel Engine?

    YES, Burning BioDiesel that meets the ASTM D-6751 specification in your vehicle is safe. There have been well over 45 million miles of real-world driving with B20 blends in a wide variety of engines, climates, and applications. Every year here in the USA millions more miles are being driven on BioDiesel.

    Our belief is if you are careful & follow the common sense guidelines spelled out in our book, you can make BioDiesel which can meet or come close enough to the ASTM D-6751 specification. It is imperative that any fuel you burn (home made or commercially made) is well cleaned, dried & polished such as the ASTM specification requires. Following these guidelines prevents water or contaminates that can damage your injection pump & fuel injectors. That is why we recommend following the ASTM D-6751 standard.

    We use BioDiesel during the warm weather months & a 1991 Dodge Cummins model B is our test vehicle which has burned B100 one summer & a blend of B30 - B50 the next two years without any ill effects or fuel related problems. We have not been burning B100 in the winter months because of potential gelling problems that could occur once the temperatures dip into the very low 40's.

    BioDiesel can be used in any diesel engine, however we caution that since BioDiesel has excellent solvent characteristics it can soften old style rubber fuel lines. Early model diesel vehicles (mostly pre 1991) reportedly had Rubber Fuel Lines & o-rings which may  eventually soften and leak because of this. Later model diesel vehicles from around 1993 and upward have synthetic Viton lined fuel lines & o-rings which are not affected. If yours is an early model such as ours, you may eventually need to replace your rubber fuel lines & o-rings with the newer Viton type. We had not seen this problem on our vehicle because it did have Viton lined fuel hoses. We did not know that & had Viton fuel hose on hand & ready to be installed in case it did become a problem. Later we removed our rubber lines & inspected them, then found out they were OEM original & actually had Viton linings! Did you know now that ULSD S-15 has been introduced here in the USA you may have to get Viton fuel components anyway because it can cause problems with older o-rings & fuel lines as well so may have to change them out anyway. You may as well make and burn your own cheap BioDiesel fuel.
Read what Chevron has to say about ULSD here.
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Will BioDiesel affect my Mileage or Power?

    BioDiesel has better lubricating properties and as a result your diesel engine should last longer. BioDiesel actually runs cleaner and smoother and quieter than #2 diesel in your engine. It does lower your fuel mileage about 8% to 10% and has a similar effect on heavy load pulling power otherwise you likely will not notice it. Since home made BioDiesel costs considerably less than diesel fuel, the relatively small 10% or less loss in mileage is more than acceptable to most people.
 
    We were impressed with the results that we got when burning our home brew B100. As expected we dropped a bit less than 10% in mileage when running B100. This was acceptable since the cost at the time was only $0.70 per gallon to make. We stop burning straight B100 about mid October each year due to colder night time temperatures below 40F which could give us fuel gelling problems.

Below are our actual MPG averages using various fuel sources over a 6 month 10,000 mile period. Note: your mileage may differ from ours due to driving habits.

MPG Avg.

17.7

17.6

17

16.9

16.4

16.3

Fuel Brand

Fred Meyer

Shell

Chevron

Safeway

 our B100

Phillips 76

Note: The B100 was our home made 100% pure BioDiesel & except for seasonal differences, the driving conditions were all identical mostly highway miles driven. Shown in order of best to worst MPG with our BioDiesel giving just 7.3% lower MPG than the best MPG from Fred Meyer #2 diesel. Not bad considering the Fred Meyer fuel at that time was near $2.50 per gallon compared with just $0.70 per gallon for our B100, we can easily live with that!
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What does the term B100 mean?

    B100 is an industry standardized name meaning 100% BioDiesel. The letter B designator stands for BioDiesel. If the name were B20 then it would contain 20% BioDiesel mixed with 80% standard diesel fuel.
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Can I run BioDiesel in a Gasoline Engine?

    NO! You cannot burn it in a gasoline engine, it is a Diesel Fuel substitute & can only be ran in a compression based Diesel Engine. BioDiesel cannot be spark ignited. Go buy a diesel & burn BioDiesel.
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Isn't BioDiesel simply vegetable oil thinned-out with a solvent?

    NO, Absolutely not, BioDiesel is made in a chemical conversion process where vegetable oil, alcohol are chemically bonded together using lye as a catalyst. This chemical conversion process is called "Transesterification." The product has been chemically changed into a methyl ester, the characteristics change entirely & now very closely resemble #2 diesel fuel in viscosity, Cetane & characteristics. Once properly washed & dried BioDiesel does not contain any free alcohol.
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Does BioDiesel require vehicle conversion?

    No conversion at all is required to burn BioDiesel in your diesel vehicle. Early vehicles made before the mid 1990's may have natural rubber fuel lines. If they do you may need replace them with modern Viton lined synthetic fuel lines to prevent deterioration of the old rubber parts. If you have questions, consult with your mechanic. You may need to do this anyway because of the S-15 new diesel fuel.
Read Chevrons Statement regarding ULSD
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Must you use heat to make BioDiesel?

    As long as the oil is in a liquid state, you can make BioDiesel. Heating it to the proper temperature will allow the chemical reaction to complete in about an hour. While it can be made at lower temperatures, all liquids should be no less than 70F. Be warned though that as the temperature shifts away from optimal, the time required to fully convert the oil into BioDiesel grows exponentially & at 70F the time required becomes fairly lengthy.
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Should home made BioDiesel be "washed" & "Dried" before use?

    YES, to meets the ASTM D-6751 specification it must be Washed, Dried & Filtered (Polished) to remove impurities. We firmly believe that BioDiesel which has had all the glycerin, soaps and methanol removed in this manor can be used with confidence in any diesel engine or home heating furnace. Washing BioDiesel removes residual soaps, glycerin & alcohol. Drying it removes any absorbed water. Filtering removes particulates down to an acceptable micron level. Not only is Washing & Drying very cheap & easy to do, we highly recommended it. Removal of Glycerin & Methanol by other methods involves settling time & waiting for time long periods for the methanol to evaporate. Note that some Bosch Injector Pumps can be damaged if exposed to alcohol which is another reason we strongly recommend washing & drying your fuel as the ASTM standards suggest.
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How clean must Vegetable Oil be for making BioDiesel?

    If your WVO source is relatively clean, no straining is required. Straining it through a window screen is more than sufficient although we don't bother with that ourselves, we just let the oil sit in the drum for a week or so before we pump it out. Any food particles settle to the bottom of the drum, we never pump off the bottom of our drums. Smaller food particles do not contain much moisture, will not clog up plumbing & settle out in the glycerin waste anyway.  
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Can my Waste Vegetable Oil contain any water?

    NO! Fortunately it is easy to dry waste vegetable oil provided it contains only small quantities of absorbed water. Drying can be done through a combination of evaporation, pumping, heating, & settling time. More details about this in our book. Just remember, Water, Oil & lye make Soap not BioDiesel.
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Why must the Vegetable Oil & everything be Dry?

    Remember the movies showing Granny making home made Lye Soap? Well, making Lye Soap & making BioDiesel are closely related. They both use Lye & Vegetable Oil. The difference is in the liquid added. Making Lye Soap you use Water while making BioDiesel you use Alcohol. Water, oil & lye make Soap & it doesn't matter if your trying to make BioDiesel or not.... It will make Soap! Since you are trying to limit the production of Soap & wish to make BioDiesel instead, the presence of water must be kept to an absolute minimum! 
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Can I switch back & forth between BioDiesel & Petroleum Diesel?

    YES, you can switch back & forth between BioDiesel & #2 diesel, you can even blend them in any ratio they are remarkably compatible.
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Isn't homemade BioDiesel inconsistent?


    This is a rumor likely spread by those that have a vested interest in selling you expensive diesel fuel. Following the simple instructions that are contained in our book "Pretty Good BioDiesel" without deviating from our instructions, the quality of the BioDiesel will be very consistent. Our instructions closely follow the Biodiesel Standard ASTM D 6751 and make consistently high quality fuel.

   We have heard this question many times & all we can say in answer to this accusation regarding the consistency of home made BioDiesel is that some people take shortcuts. That certainly can have a negative impact on the quality of BioDiesel made. Failure to follow the sound BioDiesel guidelines set forth by the Biodiesel Standard ASTM D 6751 may very well result in inconsistent and low grade BioDiesel.

   People are people & some do use shortcuts. Some people don't wash or dry their BioDiesel, some stop short of complete processing or use less chemicals in a misguided effort to cut costs & some even fail to filter it. We know that if you follow the simple guidelines set forth by the Biodiesel Standard (ASTM D 6751) as described in our book then the quality of biodiesel you produce will remain high.

   BioDiesel is made using sound Chemistry. Some snake oil peddlers or shysters out there would lead you to believe that BioDiesel can be made by dumping in some sort of their proprietary snake oil into your WVO but this does not make BioDiesel. You cannot simply thin down vegetable oil with some sort of solvent or treat vegetable oil with some sort of magic powder then filter it as some would have you believe and simply heating up vegetable oil & using it straight as SVO is an illegal fuel. Doing those things can damage your engine

  The history of biolipid transesterification.... one of the first uses of transesterified vegetable oil (biodiesel) was powering heavy duty diesel vehicles in South Africa before World War II. The name "BioDiesel" has been given to transesterified vegetable oil to describe its use as a diesel fuel. It was patented in the US in the 1940s by Colgate (and other scientists), all though biolipid transesterification might have been discovered much earlier. So as you can see, BioDiesel is an actual chemical conversion following sound science where the base vegetable oil is converted into a methyl ester that simulates #2 petroleum diesel fuel and you certainly can control the quality yourself be it good or bad. We hope you follow our suggestion, download our book Pretty Good BioDiesel Book HERE and follow the sound BioDiesel making guidelines that it contains.

Do I have to pay road tax on BioDiesel fuel?

   Good question, we do not give legal advise so this is only our opinion...
This question is one we can not answer because it all depends on the laws in your country & state. Check with your local authorities or do an internet search to see if you can locate any forms or information for the area you live. In the US, if you make BioDiesel for highway use, you should file a road tax form to claim the fuel you used and pay the road tax on it. This may also be applicable for the state in which you reside as well. Generally speaking it is our understanding, if you reside within the US and make BioDiesel for off road or farm use you do not need to file or pay road taxes on the fuel you make. However we are not a law firm and this could vary according to the state or country in which you live so do your own research.

 

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