Just a quick note to all. I just got back from my tour of the University of Idaho Biodiesel Project......WOW! These guys are out there...........I've got access to ALL the files of all their research for the past 20+years! I am totaly drained, can't talk, and about to fall asleep at the keyboard. I'll post more tomorrow night about my trip, but just to tease you, here is their website: http://www.uidaho.edu/bioenergy/index.html
Ok guys, here is what I learned. They are using basicly the same system I'm using An open style processer, with mechanical mixing, powered by hydraulic motors to avoid any potential for sparks [sound familiar!]. They have switched to using Ethanol instead of Methanol, but when I pressed them about WHY they told me it was mainly for safety reasons, because there are quite a lot of inexperenced students using the equipment. They have used Magnesol, and recomend it if you are using Methanol and recovering the excess Methanol. There use of water wash with Ethanol comes from the fact they evaporate the Ethanol directly from the mixing tank, and do not recover any of the Ethanol vapor [ which there paying $4.18/ gallon!] After they have finished mixing they raise the temp to 175 deg and hold for 12 hours to evaporate the Ethanol, then hold that temp while washing. Prof Von Gerpen explaned that was probably not economicly feasable for production use, but was just easer for them. We also toured their field test plots, they have engineered Canolla that will produce 51 percent oil, with far less problems with shatter. They are presently testing Yellow Mustard, and think it will be better than using Cannola.
They also have a complete engine and chassis dynomometer set up and are doing long term testing of most engines used in the US today. I'm researching their "files" and will post anything I find that is usefull.
We are planning a regonal Biodiesel Forum to be held about the middle of Nov in the Tri-Cities, Wash. The focus will be for Farmers that want to "grow-their-own" fuel, and small Co-Ops. I will be speaking there, with several other "home-brewers" and will have a small Bio plant to introduce people to how simple the process is. If anyone is interested in going to this, just let me know and I will post the particulars here.