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Old 11-09-2006, 05:16 PM
AndysFords AndysFords is offline
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Getting Started

Ok, I finally have scrounged up enough tanks, hoses, pumps, and others stuff to get started on my homemade reactor. I also stopped by a guy in TN that I met in Arkansas and took a look at his reactor. Several questions, first, how long do you mix the lye and methanol before you mix it into your veggie oil? Also, what are the correct proportions for this, I know you have to titrate it, and I have got a pH test kit, but once you know the pH, then what. Also, the guy whose I looked at had his plumbed entirely with copper pipe and I am kind of worried about that, since I seem to recall Fabmandelux or someone else warning against copper in anything to do with Bio or Veggie oil. Can someone enlighten me on these things?

EDIT: Also, some people say wash the fuel, some don't. What is ya'll opinion
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Last edited by AndysFords; 11-09-2006 at 05:18 PM. Reason: Another question
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Old 11-11-2006, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by AndysFords
Ok, I finally have scrounged up enough tanks, hoses, pumps, and others stuff to get started on my homemade reactor. I also stopped by a guy in TN that I met in Arkansas and took a look at his reactor. Several questions, first, how long do you mix the lye and methanol before you mix it into your veggie oil? Also, what are the correct proportions for this, I know you have to titrate it, and I have got a pH test kit, but once you know the pH, then what. Also, the guy whose I looked at had his plumbed entirely with copper pipe and I am kind of worried about that, since I seem to recall Fabmandelux or someone else warning against copper in anything to do with Bio or Veggie oil. Can someone enlighten me on these things?

EDIT: Also, some people say wash the fuel, some don't. What is bill opinion
Nobody else wants this one?

Then I guess I'll have to open my big mouth Just remember, you asked............... I don't "water-wash", and never will, nor would I recommend it to my customers. The reasons are many. The main "reason" for water washing is to remove the impurities that arise from the reaction, AND the side reactions. Those are mainly, Soaps [side reaction], excess Methanol, water [side reaction], glycerin, and Lye. If you remove the Methanol by evaporation [vacuum, or heat] than the soaps CANNOT REMAIN IN SUSPENSION, and will fall out of suspension and can be filtered out. no water added to fuel............Water washing will not wash out the excess mono,di,or triglycerides, they are not water soluble. If you choose to water wash you then have to dispose of the wash water, not a small task if you follow most directions. The recommended process to wash bio is 30 percent water volume X three washes. That means for every 100 gallons of fuel made you get 90 gallons of contaminated water to dispose of. Now that you've "washed" your bio you must "dry" it to remove what?........WATER!

There is a much simpler way...........Recover the Methanol by evaporation, filter out the soaps, and remove ANY remaining Lye,mono,di,or triglycerides,glycerin,and.....water, with Megnesol, or several other chemicals that are available. At about $.10 a gallon.....PRICELESS!

There are numerous studies available on line that show mixing water OR air with biodiesel will cause oxidation of the fuel. Biodiesel that is starting to oxidise will have a shorter shelf life, and can lead to the formation of a nasty form of "slime" that plugs up filters.

Don't even ask me about Titration.............


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Old 11-12-2006, 10:47 AM
AndysFords AndysFords is offline
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What about the copper pipe?
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Old 11-12-2006, 12:16 PM
AndysFords AndysFords is offline
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Ok, I run into so many different ideas. Some say water wash, others, say drain the glycerin, run it through a filter, and go. This is the first time I've heard about what he just said, but as good an idea as it seems, it takes a lot of heat to run a still to recover the methanol. Short of building a fire under it every time, I just don't see that happening. What about the people that say a little methanol left in the fuel acts as a "booster" and won't hurt anything, but I do know that too much octane in a diesel will blow a piston quickly. Theres too much stuff out there with conflicting opinions. Everybody has a different way that they say is "best". I just don't know what to believe.

Also, FAB, you said don't get me started on titration, did you do this at one time, figure out that the formula is usually the same, and stick to it, or did you just try till you got it right?
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Old 11-12-2006, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by AndysFords
Ok, I run into so many different ideas. Some say water wash, others, say drain the glycerin, run it through a filter, and go. This is the first time I've heard about what he just said, but as good an idea as it seems, it takes a lot of heat to run a still to recover the methanol. Short of building a fire under it every time, I just don't see that happening. What about the people that say a little methanol left in the fuel acts as a "booster" and won't hurt anything, but I do know that too much octane in a diesel will blow a piston quickly. There's too much stuff out there with conflicting opinions. Everybody has a different way that they say is "best". I just don't know what to believe.

Also, FAB, you said don't get me started on titration, did you do this at one time, figure out that the formula is usually the same, and stick to it, or did you just try till you got it right?
Sorry Andy, I didn't mean to add to your confusion. You asked about washing, and I gave you the reasons why I do not, and why I don't recommend it. I've never "bad-mouthed" the appleseed processor, or said "my" system was best.

My whole focus is to make the best quality of fuel possible for myself and the customers I design plants for.

When you consider the time and energy required to wash and "dry" the biodiesel made with the water-wash method vs the time and energy required for non-waterwash, I think the non-water method is more practical, and produces a better product. Most homebrewers heat their bio above 150F to drive off the water after it is washed, but water boils off at 212DegF at sea level, Methanol boils off above 150 deg at sea level, so will require less energy to remove.

Try a simple experiment: take a gallon of your biodiesel that is unwashed and put it on a hot-plate and heat it up above 150 Deg. the bubbles you see will be Methanol boiling off. When it quits bubbling, let it cool and you will see the soaps settle to the bottom of the container. If you had contained the vapor and condensed it you would be able to use it over again in your next batch.

Copper or brass is ok to use in your processor piping, but NOT in any storage tanks. When Bio sets for awhile in the presence of copper, the biodiesel will degrade, and "eat-up" the copper. You can do another experiment to confirm this: Put a small piece of copper in a glass jar with some bio, and over time it will turn green and start to dissolve.

On the subject of titration.........Remember you asked...... I found over time that my titrations were very close and required very little changes. I found by experimenting, that using about 20 percent more Lye than was required resulted in high conversion rates [above 97 percent] and caused fewer "bad" reactions. From these experiments I developed a "formula" that works on the oil I get,and haven't titrated in over 2 years.

There are lots of different ways to make Biodiesel, and you have to figure out what system is good for you. You should try different experiments to find out the best way that works for the oil that you can get. At times I've had rows of bottles with different 'mixes" in them, always trying to improve My Biodiesel.

FABMANDELUX.
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Old 11-12-2006, 09:16 PM
AndysFords AndysFords is offline
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Well thats great, I just worried about heating it so hot, seems like you would burn a lot of energy doing so, but I don't believe 150 would be too hot, thats plausible. Thanks, and I did not mean to imply that you were "bad mouthing" the other way, and you didn't say your way was best, but some others had said that.
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Old 11-12-2006, 09:40 PM
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Well thats great, I just worried about heating it so hot, seems like you would burn a lot of energy doing so, but I don't believe 150 would be too hot, thats plausible. Thanks, and I did not mean to imply that you were "bad mouthing" the other way, and you didn't say your way was best, but some others had said that.
No harm, no foul, Andy!

I just wanted to make sure that I did not leave the impression that my system was better than anybody elses.

I've done a lot of research and experimenting the last three years, trying to develop a system that is easy to use, and makes the best quality fuel. I haven't even scratched the surface of what is possible yet. The field of biofuels is so new that no one can predict where we'll be next year, much less in 5-10 years!

All I can hope for is with the free exchange of ideas we can all make a contribution to this great country, and to the generation to come..............


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Old 11-15-2006, 08:42 AM
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This information is great but the more I read on all these posts, the more confused I get. Do YOU have a step by step guide that will assist me in the process and also, where is a diagram that shows the plumbing and equipment list for the processor? I did as you requested and read all about the snake oil. That is OUT.
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Old 11-15-2006, 09:54 AM
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Tom

If you havent been there yet go to this site http://www.biodieselcommunity.org they have most of the answers for you and how to make a processor instructions.

Highly recommend GirlMarks book
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Old 11-15-2006, 12:45 PM
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Thanks. I'll study that. I was very interested in Fabmandelux's post on NOT washing the brew. I would like to use that system so I'm not using (and dumping) so much water. I'll also get GirlMark's book so I don't screw anything up. I can't afford to put a new engine in my truck. Tom
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Old 11-15-2006, 01:15 PM
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Thanks. I'll study that. I was very interested in Fabmandelux's post on NOT washing the brew. I would like to use that system so I'm not using (and dumping) so much water. I'll also get Grillmarks book so I don't screw anything up. I can't afford to put a new engine in my truck. Tom
Tom, Here is a link to an article from Biodiesel Magazine. It explains both systems in more detail. http://www.dallasgrp.com/bioart1.pdf

If you decide to build an "open" style processor like mine, ask all the questions you need, and I'll help talk you through the design.


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Old 11-19-2006, 02:23 PM
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Boy oh Boy, I didn't think this Bio-D was so complex.

What do you do with the 'leftovers' after the filtration process is done?
Can we use it for Fertilizer? Anything?
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Old 11-19-2006, 04:26 PM
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Boy oh Boy, I didn't think this Bio-D was so complex.

What do you do with the 'leftovers' after the filtration process is done?
Can we use it for Fertilizer? Anything?
It's not really as complex as it seems, but planning ahead helps

I've tried to approach the whole thing as a complete system, and the "waste" is part of that system. The glycerol can be added to cattle feeds, and maybe made into pellets [still waiting for my pellet mill]. The filter-cake from the Magnesol process can also be used as a supplement to livestock feeds.

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Old 11-22-2006, 06:20 PM
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I printed the site you directed me to. Shall I build the basic "appleseed" to begin with and then contact you with further instructions or what? I haven't started anything yet. I am just trying to learn all the different aspects of the system so I don't screw it up. Any info will be greatly appreciated. Your method of "washing" definitely sounds better. I don't want to deal with all that waste water. Thanks
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Old 11-22-2006, 11:21 PM
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I printed the site you directed me to. Shall I build the basic "appleseed" to begin with and then contact you with further instructions or what? I haven't started anything yet. I am just trying to learn all the different aspects of the system so I don't screw it up. Any info will be greatly appreciated. Your method of "washing" definitely sounds better. I don't want to deal with all that waste water. Thanks
Two questions: 1st. Do you have access to good shop facilities?
2nd. How are your fabrication skills?

I need the answers to those questions before I can give you an informed answer.


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Old 11-22-2006, 11:21 PM
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