With crude being $120+ a barrel how does the price of Vegetable.(soy, canola, corn, I am not being specific here). I mean at some point it has to be cheaper to make biodiesel out of new oil than it is to make diesel out of crude. Anyway, are there processors that you can get that just go from start to finish without having to move the product from barrel to barrel? I have a coworker who keeps telling me about some machine he saw where you just have to add oil, lye and methanol and it does all the work for you.
The answer to your first question is maybe. Don't mean to sound facetious but the issue with the price of biomass feedstocks like corn and soybeans is that their price is being pushed up by the demand for alternative fuels (corn for ethanol and soybeans for biodiesel). And right now the price of the biomass feedstocks seems to be outpacing the price of crude. So commercially produced biodiesel is still more expensive than petroluem biodiesel, and the ethanol fuels are still more expensive than petroleum gases.
The answer to your second question is yes, there are "one-stop-shop" all-in-one production units for biodiesel, but for the automation, you pay the price.
If you're speaking of 'new' vegetable oil---like what you get from a grocery store or even a wholesale place like Costco, I would say 'no'.....Paid about $7.00 for 1/2 gallon of canola (I'm sure some places are a little cheaper), so do the math. Peanut oil is even more expensive.
I know most of the bio guys here score used oil from restaurants and such, so they pay little if anything for theirs. But they still need the equipment and the chemicals for the process.
Hey, TexHillCtry....What's it come out to per gallon now if you do it that way? Something just under $1.00/gallon or something?
Hey cmpd, you're absolutely right on the new versus used oil. His question was how does using new oil compare to using crude oil.
For the home-brew guys, the return on investment can be pretty significant.
If you figure in the cost of acquiring the used VO (transporting it, is it free or does the restaurant want something for it), plus the cost of methanol and catalyst (like lye), yeah, you're roughly (and I do mean roughly) around a buck a gallon for the finished product.
But like you also mentioned, don't forget the sunk cost into the equipment. If you're a real DIY'er, you can put together a system for a few hundred dollars. But a decent kit will run you around $3K or more, so you have to figure in the return on that.
I ran some numbers a while back for a $4k system, splitting the acquisition cost between four guys at $1k each. I used the price of dino-diesel at $4 per gallon and the cost of producing a bioD gallon at about $1.
For each guy to break even, each guy would have to produce about 325 gallons of BioD, and then after that it was gravy. If the price of dino diesel keeps going up, then that return is a little sooner.
I figure on a long-bed Superduty, that's about 10 fill-ups.
So if you can get a group together, AND have a decent, on-going supply of waste VO, it's very attractive.
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