So I'm looking into building an AppleSeed style reactor...
One problem is I don't have an electric water heater. I just replaced the water heater in my basement, but it's a natural gas unit...
Recently, I scavenged an oil burner unit from the furnace of an abandoned house. (I also took the 275 Gallon oil tank. I ended up with 110 gallons of red #2 heating fuel too.)
I had the bright idea of removing the natural gas burner from the water heater and installing the gas burner unit in it's place.
I've already bypassed the air flow circuitry, so that it will attempt to ignite without the rest of the furnace present. Simply connect 120 volts AC for the blower and pump motor and ignition transformer, and short the two wires that went to the thermostat. Sparks fly and the blower spins up. I think I just need to prime the pump to get it to light.
A.) Is this a good idea to begin with?
B.) When I run out of red #2 heating fuel, would it be possible to run this burner off of the biodiesel itself or maybe even preheated WVO?
Definitely not a good idea. You DO NOT want any flame near your biodiesel processor. It worries me now using a exposed element to heat the oil with, let alone an exposed flame [ don't ask me why, just glad I had a fire extinguisher close by] , I'm working on a better way to heat the oil right now, and will post the results when I finish testing.
It's cool. I'll run the oil burner off of waste oil and heat my driveway with it. I never liked working in the cold anyhow. I'll use the shell of the water heater and a 55 gallon drum. Make a large "torpedo" style heater... The bus garages where I work have something similar... Double walled tube, oil burner, blower... That's it.
Now I've gotta figure out how to get a 220 volt 30 amp circuit into the middle of my back yard... Along with installing the appropriate breaker in the panel. I don't think the amount of power I can send over a typical orange extension cord (110 volt @ 15 amps) will cut it, expecially in the dead of winter when I'll need the most heat.
Does anyone have their BioDiesel reactor located in a backyard shed or out in the open? That's where mine's going. I don't want flammable liquids in large quantities anywhere near my house.
I was kinda looking for cheaper heat than electric. Has anyone looked at their electric bill before and after building the reactor? I know I'd be bankrupt if this house had electric water heating and house heating than natural gas.
Between the cost of Methanol and electricity, is it worth it to even build this reactor? Originally, I was also looking to distill ethanol from rotten vegetables and yard clippings to even further lower the cost, and provide fuel for my gasoline vehicles... The yield of fuel to raw material and the constant babysitting that the process required turned me off of that.
BioDiesel however seems to make a lot quicker, so I decided to convert one of my other vehicles to Diesel.
EDIT: I just found the plans for the "FabManDelux Open Style" reactor... It seems as though this is a lot more automated and a lot more tolerant of errors in the process, as it's got a soap filter and such... I think I'll change up and go that route.