There are less elaborate systems for making BD. Some kits are on the internet for 250.00 and you supply your own 55gal cans and a hot water heater. Try biodieselwarehouse.com, I think, or search google for "making biodiesel". There are several forums out there where people will help you get it together too. I'm still checking into it. Gas at 2.39 and diesel at 3.15. There's something other than the price if crude oil going on here?????
I wouldn't get the $250 kit, I think those are just for the titration kit and BD formula. If you go to FreedomfuelAmerica.com they sell a kit for around $2300 and a dual processing system for $3299-3999 or something. I want to make my own but I need to get the truck first. And it ends up being .70 cents a gallon with free oil-lye-racing methenol.
Then one has to take into account for ones own time - this is where I am afraid the economics falls apart.
If I use 30gal per week
Thats 1500 gallons per year
By making my own bio with free WVO at $.75 per gallon I can save $2 per gallon
(rough numbers -make the approx math easier)
That means $3000 worth of processing equipment is paid for in a year!!! (1500 gallons X $2)
Therefore each 50 gallon batch of biodiesel saves me $100 (at $2/gal) but takes 3 hours to collect oil, heat, settle, filter, process a test batch, and then process a full batch, that is a labor cost of $33 per hour. ($100/3hrs)
I can make more money by going to work not messing with the greasy nasty junk. At 2 hours of labor I am getting to the break even point but I still have the hassle of messing with nasty grease, potentially harmful chemicals, fumes, etc.
I AM NOT SAYING I AM NOT GOING TO DO IT!!! In fact I probably will but as an experiment more than anything.
I just don't think the economics are there for a small producer. Yet.
Looks like diesel would have to be in the $4/gal range to make this a true economic model. And that could happen.......god forbid, but we have seen crazier things.
BTW Of course there is something more that the price of crude going on at the gas station!!! In the free market we all know and love, it is the law of supply and demand. It is called capitalism and we hate it when it doesn't go our way, yet it is the engine that has made this country the greatest in the world.