BioDiesel Class 101
Class # 2
You will obviously need a source of vegetable oil to make your BioDiesel out of so the first thing you do is figure out how much diesel fuel you currently consume per month. Figure on needing about 12% more BioDiesel to go the same distance as you did with #2 diesel fuel, the reason for this extra oil is two fold, 8% will be needed to account for loss in mileage & the rest is because as a beginner you will loose some in the beginning as you learn how to wash & dry effectively. Now you know how much WVO (waste vegetable oil) you will need each month
Start looking for high volume users of cooking oil. In our PGB book tell you how to locate them, what to ask & how seek permission to examine the oil in their current collection container before making any promises to them. Things to look for would be garbage such as plastic bags, beverage cans and other junk in the current WVO collection container which may indicate trouble with vandalism. Look for LARD or hardened animal fats in the collection container which will make it much harder to pump out. Although you can make BioDiesel out of animal fats it will be much harder to collect as it will be solid most times of the year. Animal fats generally contain more fuel energy, however BioDiesel made from them will begin to Gel at a warmer temperature than BioDiesel made out of liquid vegetable oil would. Check for the presence of water in the WVO indicating that they do not keep the lid closed. While you can dry WVO, it is energy intensive & takes extra time so our suggestion is to look elsewhere for a better WVO source or convince them to keep the container well covered at all times. Inquire about the type of cooking oil they use, is it hydrogenated or is it salad oil? Ask how much cooking oil they go through every week, figure the restaurant looses around 10% to 15% being absorbed into the food or getting lost. Bounce this amount against what WVO amount you figured you will need for your fuel uses. Decide if it would be worth your while to bother with collecting WVO from them or not.
Once you have located a good place to collect WVO & have made agreeable arrangements with the owner (most times you can pick it up for free), you will need to provide a covered WVO collection container. They may ask that you pay for the old container to be hauled away because they may be charged for removal of the yellow grease container by the current rendering service provider. The used oil (a.k.a. - yellow grease or WVO) becomes the property of the oil collection container owner once the oil is placed inside. Yes, that is right.. it belongs to the restaurant until it is put in that container & then it belongs to the container owner. DO NOT PUMP OUT OF THE CONTAINER CURRENTLY ON THE PREMISES'! Removal of WVO from someone else's container constitutes theft in most states so never get WVO from someone else's container, always use your own container & be sure to mark your WVO collection containers with a your name or contact information.
TRANSPORTATION - You will need a method to transport the collected WVO home from the site & you will need to provide regular & RELIABLE removal of the WVO if you want to keep getting oil from them. They will not put up with sloppy WVO removal or delinquent removal of full containers. They are in the business of cooking food & have no desire to put up with such nonsense.
Consider how you will remove the used WVO in various seasons of the year. Depending on your area & the storage temperatures of the oil, it may be hard as a rock in the winter. If your lucky you may be able to get them to refill the small cubes that the oil comes in & keep it inside for easy removal by you. The standard oil cube weighs 35LB when full & can easily be transported in the standard car. Alternatively you could provide smaller yet suitable collection drums for them in the winter for easier handling by you. If this is a problem, talk with them about this & see if something can be worked out. More often than not though you will find they will not do this for you & may want to use full size 55 gallon drums or even larger collection containers. In these cases you will need to find a way to handle the collection containers that you have provided them. Figure that WVO weighs pretty close to 8 LB per gallon a 55 gallon steel drum of WVO will weigh in around 440 LB + the weight of the empty drum. At nearly 500LB even with a dolly to move a full drum it is more than a lot of people can manage by themselves.
HOW TO GET THE
OIL OUT OF THE COLLECTION DRUM - Removal of WVO from the restaurant dump container can
be accomplished very cheaply if you manually dip it out by hand with an old
1 gallon plastic bottle or for a bit more cost you can pump or suck out the WVO container with an
pump or a suction source.
Take note that any given type of pure vegetable oil is actually made up of various types of base oils, the blend of these oils is determined naturally by the plant it comes from but even then, since this is an organic function, factors such as growing conditions will cause natural variations in the makeup of the oil. It should be noted that these natural occurrences can change the characteristics of the BioDiesel made from it. The difference can be slight variations in cloud point or cold pour point from batch to batch. Usually it is not going to vary much but you should always test the cloud point of every batch when the weather starts to turn cold. The type of oil such as Soybean, Canola, exc. among other factors like if it is Hydrogenated or not will affect the temperature the WVO will solidify.
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