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Old 04-19-2011, 05:51 PM
sirnobody sirnobody is offline
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5 Gallon Processor Help

Hello, I'm trying to make a five gallon processor and need an electric heating element to heat the WVO to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. I was trying to make an electric submersible heater (something along the lines of taking a wire wrapping it in insulation sealing it in a pipe) and using that to heat the WVO to the temperature but I can not figure out how to make the circuit or what kind of wire to use. Some people suggested nichrome but others say even guitar strings are good enough to heat it to such a low temperature. Anyone out there build there own heating element or know where I can find a cheap one to buy. Any links or suggestions are appreciated. Thanks, Sirnobody
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Old 04-19-2011, 07:10 PM
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what about just using a water heater element and a themostat?
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Old 04-19-2011, 07:41 PM
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I tried using one similar to this: Amazon.com: NORPRO 559 Immersion Heater for Warming Liquids: Home Improvement but it stopped working after the first try, the instructions said not to immerse it full in liquids and it took a while to heat one gallon. This is five times that amount.
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Old 04-19-2011, 10:34 PM
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That really isn't much cheaper that a water heater element, and those are constantly submerged.
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:48 AM
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I don't recommend submerged elements anymore. To much of a chance of fire........Try going to your local appliance repair shop and pick up a stove-top element. You can install it under your STEEL 5 gallon container, and use 120 volt on the element. My new mixing tank has two of them installed under the tank and wrapped with high temp insulation and runs on 240 volt power. Heats my 300 gallon tank to 140 deg in under 2 hours.
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Old 04-20-2011, 11:06 PM
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I've just picked up a water heater that someone was throwing away and I want to make it into a processor instead of my five gallon idea. I'm going for an applessed design. What should I check for to make sure the water heater will work for biodiesel and it is natural gas and I was wondering if it was possible to convert the natural gas system to use propane instead of natural gas for heating. Since I would only run the propane to heat the oil and not run it when the methoxide is inside this would prevent any major fire hazard in the sense of blowing up the methoxide. Is this practical/feasible or should i stick to using an electric heating element?
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:45 AM
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Flame + Methanol vapors = nothing good...
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:53 AM
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Bad idea............You do not want ANY flame anywhere near where you are making bio..........
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Old 04-22-2011, 05:24 PM
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The methanol wouldnt be in or near the tank until I turn the flame off. The flame would preheat the oil, it would be turned off then the methanol would be added.
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Old 04-22-2011, 05:47 PM
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I don't know if you would get a complete reaction. You would have to heat the oil to at least 125, but less than 140 (methanol would start to boil off). Temperature would need to be held there for about an hour and a half while the reaction takes place. It is an exothermic reaction, so if the tank is well enough insulated it might hold the temperature on its own.. Just a thought. I keep mine on a timer and use a thermostat to hold the temp so the reaction goes to completion...
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Old 04-22-2011, 05:51 PM
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I understand how you plan to do things, but an open flame anywhere during the process of making biodiesel will elicit a negative response from anyone in the biodiesel community. It is simply not a good practice to have anywhere in the process, therefore you will not receive support from anyone to do so.

One of many possible scenarios: You inadvertantly drip a few drops or so of wvo during the filling process of your appleseed. (And believe me, no matter how careful, neat, organized, and clean you are, you will have spots of wvo in and around your work area and equipment). The minute amount of wvo is absobed into the insulation of your appleseed. One hour later as you're heating up the wvo, the wvo soaked insulation ignites from the open burner flame and catches fire, further fueled by some wvo which was smeared on the outside of the appleseed. Then one of the vinyl hoses ruptures from the heat and spews a flaming stream of wvo down your driveway ........and so on, and so on....well, you get the picture.

Not worth the risk.
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Old 04-22-2011, 05:54 PM
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You inadvertantly drip a few drops or so of wvo during the filling process of your appleseed. (And believe me, no matter how careful, neat, organized, and clean you are, you will have spots of wvo in and around your work area and equipment).
You mean I'm not the only one whose made a big mess?
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:01 PM
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You mean I'm not the only one whose made a big mess?
Fortunately, messes with no 'ignition' involved. Some ruptured hoses, and some sloppy filling of my settling drums. But yeah, luckily no fire. Kitty litter to save the day.
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:06 PM
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I hear you on that. I keep a couple fire extinguishers very close by also. Sorry to steal the thread. Stay safe.
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Old 04-22-2011, 08:22 PM
sirnobody sirnobody is offline
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I see what your going at. If I'm using a stovetop heating element can I just plug it into the outlet and place it under the tank or is there some special wiring so it doesn't blow my houses circuits or should I use a internal heating element.
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Old 04-22-2011, 08:22 PM
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