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Old 05-24-2011, 07:28 AM
sirnobody sirnobody is offline
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Processor setup

Hey all,
I got a twenty gallon old oil barrel that's been emptied for a few months and I flushed with water and I have a heating element inside it and a harbor freight tools Clearwater pump for my biodiesel processor. I need helP with the plumbing. I was wondering if instead of black steel I could use nylon barb fittings with reinforced vinyl tubing for piping and if I could use PVC instead of brass ball valves. Also I need help figuring out how many valves my processor needs and if for draining (since the barrel has a flat bottom) if I should bother drilling a hole in the bottom or just drilling a hole in the side of the processor and using that.

Thanks,
Sirnobody
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Old 05-24-2011, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by sirnobody View Post
Hey all,
I got a twenty gallon old oil barrel that's been emptied for a few months and I flushed with water and I have a heating element inside it and a harbor freight tools Clearwater pump for my biodiesel processor. I need helP with the plumbing. I was wondering if instead of black steel I could use nylon barb fittings with reinforced vinyl tubing for piping and if I could use PVC instead of brass ball valves. Also I need help figuring out how many valves my processor needs and if for draining (since the barrel has a flat bottom) if I should bother drilling a hole in the bottom or just drilling a hole in the side of the processor and using that.

Thanks,
Sirnobody
You will need a hole in the bottom to drain off the glycerol after you let it settle. I would NEVER use anything but black iron pipe and fittings on a processor. There have been many fires from using plastic tubing and fittings. Watch your clear water pump very closely. They have a habit of shorting out, and causing fires also.
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Old 05-24-2011, 06:16 PM
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The plastic will not hold up to repeated heat cycling with biodiesel. Especially the plastic valves. You need one valve at the very bottom of your tank to drain all the glycerol out. That valve is also used to choke off the pump input when you start siphoning in the methoxide, (which is another ball valve). You will need a valve on a drain, which can also serve as a port to pump in your wvo. So there's 3 so far. One more is good to have pre pump to isolate it when settling and draining. So there's 4 valves. After the pump, I have 2 more valves, one for tank nozzle input, and I close that one off when I pump settled bio into my wash tank, which is another port/valve. So, there's 6 altogether. I have 8 on my drum processor since I use a separate port to draw in wvo from my settling drum. And, I have another port plumbed with a filter on in which I use to pump to my fueling tank after drying. (I also use my processor to dry my washed biodiesel) This sounds far more confusing than it actually is. You can see my processor pics to get an idea what the plumbing looks like at the top of this sub forum under 'pictures of processors'. My current set up is crude but effective.
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Old 05-24-2011, 06:53 PM
sirnobody sirnobody is offline
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Thanks for the good answers I will be sure to just use black steel plumbing. I don't understand your methoxide isolation valve though. Aren't you allowed/supposed to run the pump with methoxide in the wvo to thoroughly mix the two?
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:15 PM
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I don't understand your methoxide isolation valve though. Aren't you allowed/supposed to run the pump with methoxide in the wvo to thoroughly mix the two?
Yes, you run the pump while metering in the methoxide. On my set up there's a separate branch/port where a valve, check valve, and the methoxide plumbing is at the bottom of the processor. When I am ready to begin adding the methoxide, I turn the drum exit valve halfway off to choke it, at the same time opening the methoxide valve fully. I adjust the flow of the methoxide by adjusting the drum exit valve so that it meters in slowly enough to fully take all of the methoxide in about a 10 minute period. When it's all in, I'll close the methoxide valve and fully open the drum exit valve.
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Old 06-07-2011, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fabmandelux View Post
You will need a hole in the bottom to drain off the glycerol after you let it settle. I would NEVER use anything but black iron pipe and fittings on a processor. There have been many fires from using plastic tubing and fittings. Watch your clear water pump very closely. They have a habit of shorting out, and causing fires also.
One of the things to think about when you're building a processor -- and I wish I had thought of it -- is to use steel fittings that will hold up to sulfuric acid. Sooner or later if you really get into making biodiesel, you'll want to start looking into two-stage acid/base processes, and black steel won't hold up to acid at all.

However, fittings are relatively cheap and easy to replace.
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Old 06-07-2011, 04:24 PM
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