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Learn how to make a 1 Liter test batch of BioDiesel

We will not be held responsible for any damage caused by your use of these educational instructions. For your safety, insure you have adequate ventilation (preferably outdoors), are wearing a protective face shield &

 gloves because you will be working with CAUSTIC chemicals that can cause blindness & severe chemical burns. Running water should be readily available in case of spills or personal contamination. The mixing of Methanol & Lye gets hot and creates a toxic gas which you should not breathee which is why we recommend you do this outdoors. This experiment should only be performed by an Adult or under Adult supervision! All items used will be contaminated (poisoned) afterwards so don't use your good kitchen ware.

Materials Needed: Do not use any aluminum utensils!

1 Plastic 2 liter soda bottle with a tight fitting cap
 use a clean dry clear plastic soda bottle
1 good Quart Mason Jar with a New Lid.
1 Plastic Funnel
1 Liter ( about 1 Qt) of New Vegetable Oil
Canola, Olive, Corn, Peanut, exc.
250 ml (about 1/2 pint or 8 1/2 US Oz ) of Methanol Alcohol
The yellow bottle of automotive store ISO-HEET (not the red bottle!
3 to 5 grams ( about 1 tsp) of Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)

  1. Insure all items are at normal room temperature.

  2. Put around 1 Liter of Vegetable oil into the 2 Liter bottle.

  3. Put 250 ml of ISO-HEET brand Methanol (yellow bottle) into the Mason jar.

  4. Weigh out 3 to 5 grams (about a teaspoon full) of Sodium Hydroxide (Lye), Red Devil Brand works great. Must be kept DRY, it absorbs moisture out of the air & don't let it contact any aluminum.

  5. Carefully put the Lye into the Methanol contained in the Mason Jar & cap it tightly right away.

  6. Begin gently sloshing around the Methanol/Lye mixture in the Mason Jar & continue while watching to insure it all dissolves. Watch for leaks and don't get any on your skin because it can cause permanent nerve damage so wear rubber gloves and be extra careful.
    The lye must be fully dissolved before proceeding further.

  7. Once lye is dissolved, let it settle a bit & look again to insure it is dissolved, if not continue carefully sloshing.
    Depending on the quality of your lye, it may contain insoluble contaminates which may never dissolve.

  8. Now using the funnel, gently pour the Methanol/Lye mixture into the 2 Liter soda bottle with your oil & cap it tightly.
    Remember, don't get any on your skin because permanent nerve damage can result so wear rubber gloves and be careful.

  9. Vigorously shake the 2 litter bottle to mix the contents (about 40 good hard shakes should do it). Be careful of leaks.

  10. Put down the 2 liter bottle & let the contents settle for about 1 hour.

        You should see a layer of Glycerin form at the bottom of the 2 liter bottle & a thick layer of oily liquid on top. The top layer is Raw BioDiesel. Slowly inverting the bottle will allow you to drain out the glycerol easier. Congratulations, you have made a batch of biodiesel fuel. This fuel is still raw & should be washed & polished before use though if it is to meet the ASTM D-6751 specification talked about in our FAQ section. Raw BioDiesel contains alcohol, soap & perhaps some left over Lye so it should be washed to remove these contaminates before burning in a diesel engine.

    To learn about making ASTM grade biodiesel fuel by washing & drying, complete the two lesson plans below.

    How to Wash a 1 Liter test batch of BioDiesel

    Materials Needed

    1 ea   clear empty plastic bottle with squirt cap such as (Dawn or Joy  dish soap)
    1 ea    plastic funnel
    1 ea    previously made test batch of BioDiesel
    Use of a sink with running water.

    1. Using a funnel, pour the BioDiesel out of the 2 liter bottle & into the empty clean & dry dish soap bottle.
      Slow handling is the idea here, be careful not to disturb the glycerin layer because you don't want it in your BioDiesel.

    2. Dispose of the Glycerin or save to make soap out of later.

    3. Very gently trickle some cold water down the inside of the bottle into the BioDiesel.
      You want about a 2 to 1 ratio of BioDiesel to water.

    4. Cap the bottle & very slowly invert the bottle a few times. The water should start turning milky looking, this is soap being captured by the water.

    5. With the bottle upside down, open the squirt cap & gently squirt out the milky looking wash water down the drain.

    6. Repeat step 3 - 5 until the water looks clean.

    7. Fill as per step 3 then gently shake the bottle once. If the BioDiesel & water separate quickly this is a good sign, if not repeat step 6.

    8. Once the water & BioDiesel separate quickly with a quick shake you can shake it a few more times. If the water looks only very slightly milky & the BioDiesel separates out quickly, you are finished washing.

    9. Perform step 5 again then Dry your BioDiesel per the instructions below.

    How to Dry a 1 Liter test batch of BioDiesel

    Materials Needed

    1 ea     Disposable & Microwaveable plastic container without lid.
                Large enough to contain 1.5 to 2x the volume of BioDiesel you desire to dry.
    1 ea    microwave oven or you can use a stove top set to low heat and a steel metal pan.
    1 ea    metal stir stick
    1 ea    thermometer such as a candy thermometer
    1 ea    clean mason jar with a good lid & sealing ring

    NOTE: Do not put anything made of metal into your microwave oven!

    1. After your finished washing the BioDiesel, let it settle overnight so any tiny droplets of  residual water can settle out.
      If your in a hurry you can dry it now without letting it sit overnight.

    2. Carefully pour your BioDiesel into the microwaveable container or metal pan if doing this on a stove top.
      If your bottle contains any wash water do not allow any water to get into the drying container.

    3. Use medium heat & gently warm up your BioDiesel (about 30 seconds if microwaving).

    4. Stir your BioDiesel constantly unless your microwaving it.
      Stirring breaks the surface tension allowing water vapor to escape safely as well as equalizing the temperature.

    5. Test the temperature periodically to insure it never goes much beyond 240F (water boils at 212F).
      If microwaving, constantly repeat step 3 - 4

    6. Once the temperature is greater than the boiling point of water you can be fairly sure your BioDiesel is dry.
      Notice that it now looks clearer than it did before drying.

    7. Allow the HOT BioDiesel to cool down before moving it or you may burn yourself.
      Stirring it once in a while will allow it to cool off quicker.

    8. Once cool, place the BioDiesel in the clean mason jar & seal it up tight.

    9. Place the Jar in your refrigerator allow to cool down a few hours.

    10. If it still looks clear & has not precipitated out any water, the BioDiesel is dry & can be used in a diesel engine.

    You have made your first batch of real BioDiesel !

    Get a FREE download of our Pretty Good BioDiesel Book HERE anytime.

Make Hand Soap HERE

If you want to make BioDiesel, take our FREE on-line BioDiesel 101 Class click HERE.

If you wish to view a plastic biodiesel processor meltdown click here to see why we suggest your processor should always be made of steel like our is!




 Beware of the new ULSD

Chevron says S15 ULSD may be bad news for your diesel engine HERE

Read Chevron's statement about expected ULSD caused fuel system damage

You should use a BioDiesel blend to prevent potential S15 ULSD caused fuel system seal damage


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Last modified: 11/26/16