BioDiesel Class 101
Class # 5
- Making BioDiesel
Now that you know how to Titrate and
how to make Methoxide, you are ready to make your first 40 gallon batch of BioDiesel,
OOPs! you still have not bought our
which shows you how to build our a safe, simple and effective BioDiesel Processor. You should buy
the book because your missing out on
some very useful information details.
OK, we will assume you have
built our "All in One" Low Fume BioDiesel Processor based on the design from
our PGB Book. You know that it is superior to
other designs including the commercial ones as well because being
made of steel it is fire safe, you can wash it out to keep it clean inside,
easily inspect & clean your heating element between batches, you know our "All
in One" design has multiple
functions allowing you to Process, Wash & Dry your BioDiesel all in the same
tank! Try that
with one of the other designs, they can't do it!
- First, fill the processor tank up with 40 gallons
- Cover the tank turn on the pump & start heating
to the suggested processing
- Once the WVO reaches 90F degrees or higher, remove
the cover, turn on the shower head and allow the
warm WVO exposure to the air. This will allow minor
moisture to evaporate for dryer WVO which gets higher conversion
into BioDiesel rather than making soap.
- Pre weigh a microwave safe disposable container &
then collect around 300 grams of weighed WVO in this container
(take careful note of the actual weight of the WVO inside), put it
into a microwave oven & heat it for a bit with the lid off. Carefully stir it from time to
time, once it reaches the suggested temperature stop heating it but continue to stir it for a
while to encourage moisture evaporation. Be careful not to remove much oil onto your stirring utensil
when you remove it.
After the WVO cools down to a safe temperature place it back on the scales & weigh it
again. Now comes the math... add the before & after weight values together &
that number into the heated weight value you last measured. Now multiply
times 100 to get a percentage. This is a percentage representing the amount of water contained in your WVO. It should be less than .25%, if not then you need to continue drying
the WVO in your processor until it is. Repeat this step as necessary.
- Once the water content in your WVO is
less than .25% & has been heated up to the suggested processing temperature, turn off the
shower head then clamp the lid down onto the processor.
Note that you should NEVER heat your WVO above 135F
because 140F is the boiling point of Methanol
which could potentially cause process tank to over
pressurize if improperly vented which could rupture the tank and result in a major problem.
Our processor designs include proper venting in the designs.
- Some people believe it is a safety
hazard to continue to keep the heater on once the flammable Methoxide has been added
to the WVO & prefer to turn off the heater power before adding the Methoxide.
They then slowly feed in the Methoxide into the insulated processor &
monitor the liquid temperature. If it falls below the suggested temperature in the time of 1.5
hours they mix longer to make up for the lower temperature & then put on
more insulation before the next batch processed to hold the heat longer.
have made BioDiesel for over 3 years & have always left the heater
power on when processing. We do use a good thermostat with an over temperature circuit
breaker on it and have set our thermostat to the suggested temperature. We also constantly
monitor our Mixture temperature at multiple points as well as the base
temperature of the actual heating element. If anything begins to operate
outside our normal temperature limits we shut down the heater element power & wait until
it cools to mixture temperature before reapplying power. We have never had
an incident. The choice is yours... heater on
or heater off while processing.
- After your WVO has reached
processing temperature range,
very slowly over the course of 15 to 20 minutes draw all the Methoxide
mixture into the processor and allow it to mix thoroughly.
- Keeping the process mixture circulating & the
temperature within the suggested range, the process completes in 1 Hour.
Although unnecessary it does no harm if you want to mix longer.
- If you still have the heater powered on, turn it off
- Turn off the circulation pump.
- Using the ball valves, isolate the tank & drain out the pump lines.
- BioDiesel will float on top of Glycerol so allow the mixture to rest undisturbed
for 1 to 4 hours for the bulk of the glycerol to settle out, then drain out the Glycerol that has settled to the bottom of the
tank. Save the waste Glycerol because more BioDiesel will settle to
later which you can
recover. Some people recover unused methanol from the raw glycerol but
that is another topic and we don't think it is worth the expenditure.
- Pump the Raw BioDiesel out
of the processor and into a settling tank
to allow any residual Glycerol to settle out over the next couple of days,
or pump it directly into a wash tank. If you built our "All in One" processor design
you can wash and Dry the BioDiesel in the processor. We suggest you drain
the raw BioDiesel into a temporary storage drum so you can wash out the processor tank with water to
remove any residual
Glycerol or soaps out before you begin washing the BioDiesel in the "All in
One" processor. This simply saves some time. Same goes for drying in
the "All in One" processor, drain it out to a temp storage drum & then dry
the inside of the tank before using it to dry your BioDiesel, this saves
time as well.
And you thought we forgot.....
What temperature should you never
exceed & why?
How can you tell if your WVO is dry
What happens if you have any water in
your WVO when making BioDiesel?
How long should it take to suck in
your Methoxide when making a 40 gallon batch of BioDiesel?
What happens to the liquid in the tank after
the processing & pump has stopped?
Is the BioDiesel layer on top or
Why should raw BioDiesel be pumped
into a settling tank?
If your WVO is damp, how do you dry
How long does WVO need to process at
the suggested temperature in order to convert into BioDiesel?
Does it matter if the process time
runs longer than required?
Do you need to continue to heat the
WVO once it is up to temperature & you are ready to draw in the Methoxide,
if not what needs to watched closely?
Should you throw out the waste
glycerol right away & if not why?
OK, you have now successfully made your biodiesel fuel. Now you have a choice to
make, do you continue to washing & drying or go straight to filtering? If you
desire to make ASTM grade BioDiesel fuel then your course is clear, you need to
wash & dry the fuel. Some people elect to use the BioDiesel fuel just like you
have in your tank right now, of course they filter it first. This fuel is not
approved by the EPA as a motor vehicle fuel. We don't do this ourselves because
we agree with many vehicle manufacturers that think alcohol in the fuel poses a
fire hazard since diesel vehicles are not designed for easily ignited fuel such
as alcohol. Furthermore we believe the unwashed fuel may contain enough
contaminates that it could lead to fuel delivery problems later on. Unwashed
fuel still contains soap, alcohol & water. The water is a very minor component
of the RAW fuel but it is present non-the-less. Soaps may cause coking of the
injection nozzles & obstruct fuel delivery leading to poor fuel economy. This
said, if we had a diesel vehicle with extremely high mileage, we may be tempted
to use unwashed biodiesel in it.
If you desire to use unwashed BioDiesel, please head directly to our
BioDiesel Filtering class.
Move on to
Washing BioDiesel if you
desire to comply with the recommendations of the ASTM BioDiesel specification.
Back to BioDiesel 101 class