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Old 08-30-2008, 10:36 AM
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What kind of structure are you or do you plan on producing BioDiesel in?

Just like the title says... It may be useful for those planning on producing at their home. There've been news articles about people producing BioDiesel in their home's attached garage and setting the house on fire. Basically getting examples of where it would and wouldn't be safe to produce.

Also, if you don't mind, how big is your property and whereabouts is it located, so we can base structure size on that. I obviously won't be putting a 2000 sq ft pole barn up on my quarter acre lot. That'd be bigger than my house!

I don't even have a garage. I was planning on putting up a little wooden shed in the back yard and running extension cords out there.



I'm in Northern, VA. Right near the border of the Prince William and Fairfax county just 25 miles south of Washington D.C. Real estate is a premium here and the yuppies who're concerned about neighborhood appearance are rampant. Older houses like mine don't have HOA's, but they do have smaller lots. In the western parts of the counties (Fairfax, Prince William, and Loudon) where newer developments have gone on there are STRICT HOA's. No 55 gallon barrels out in the yard... No outbuildings that are larger than a backyard garden type shed, and they need to be color coordinated and look all the same.

Further out there are farms with no controlling agencies and huge acreage, but that 25 mile drive in the morning and evening rush hour to and from get to my job in the city can take up to an hour or an hour and a half. Plus, this quarter acre cost me over a quarter million bucks. (Yeah right. Like a million bucks is a lot of money anymore.) I'd shudder to think of what a couple acres costs...
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Old 08-30-2008, 11:08 AM
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I would never recommend that anyone produce bio in an attached garage. Safety First!! That said, I live on 3,000 acres, and have a dedicated building for my bio operation. My nearest neighbor is 6 miles away.................
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Old 08-30-2008, 11:10 AM
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I would never recommend that anyone produce bio in an attached garage. Safety First!! That said, I live on 3,000 acres, and have a dedicated building for my bio operation. My nearest neighbor is 6 miles away.................
You're a special case. What do you grow on that acreage?
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Old 08-30-2008, 11:19 AM
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My wife says I'm a "special" case too! ( although I don't think her meaning is the same as yours....) Right now the land is in CRP, so no crops. The land will be out of CRP next fall, and will be planted in Wheat, Canola, and also 25 wind turbines.
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Old 08-30-2008, 11:44 AM
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My wife says I'm a "special" case too! ( although I don't think her meaning is the same as yours....) Right now the land is in CRP, so no crops. The land will be out of CRP next fall, and will be planted in Wheat, Canola, and also 25 wind turbines.
I'd love to have all manner of wind turbines, solar collectors, and an outdoor wood/trash/oil/LP/nat gas burning boiler to go with my hydronic radiant floor heating. (My house has a boiler and hydronic baseboard heating, so I know it's energy efficiency advantages already.)

But this is my first house and it's only 1200 sq ft, Including unfinished utility areas. I'm 26 and single, so I don't plan on keeping this place forever.

That's another thing I wanted to make this thread for. What to look for in another place. Essentially, I should just have land so I can put up a corrugated steel building for BioD production.
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Old 08-30-2008, 03:27 PM
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We have a fortunate location with a partner who has a 40x60 heated and cooled warehouse in a commercial area.

The things that come to mind when thinking about a facility (outside of residential restrictions, etc), are the following:

- Water and power

- The ability to reasonably control the environment (especially if you live somewhere where it gets really cold or really hot).

- Enough space for all the stuff you'll need, and it's more than you think by the time you get a processor, barrels, etc.

TX
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Old 08-30-2008, 07:24 PM
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We have a fortunate location with a partner who has a 40x60 heated and cooled warehouse in a commercial area.

The things that come to mind when thinking about a facility (outside of residential restrictions, etc), are the following:

- Water and power

- The ability to reasonably control the environment (especially if you live somewhere where it gets really cold or really hot).

- Enough space for all the stuff you'll need, and it's more than you think by the time you get a processor, barrels, etc.

TX
With electricity supplied by the extension cord and water supplied by the garden hose, I think I could get a processor into an 8x12 shed with enough room for a few drums of oil and a drum of methanol.

It'd go like this:

Outside the shed would be a metal 55gallon drum with the bottom cut off it, turned upside down with the bungs facing down... Lift that on top of a few cinderblocks and heat it from underneath. Get it hot enough to boil off as much water as possible.

Small bung would be plugged, large bung would go to a street elbow and ball valve. Dump that into screen then a bag filter to get rid of the food debris. This filtration setup would also be elevated above an open bottom, inverted 55gallon drum. Also above this drum is a motor with a shaft long enough to hit the bottom and impellers at the bottom. (Either stock steel rod with old fan blades at the bottom or a commercially bought paint stirrer.)

Add your methoxide to this tank and stir 30-45 mins.

Again, this drum has the bungs on the bottom. Large bung is necked down using adapters and has a nipple in it to elevate it's drainage point a few inches above the bottom surface. Both bungs go out to ball valves conected to clear hose so you can observe the output.

After settling a while, open the Bottom direct drain valve and observe all the glycerol go out.

Open the other valve that drains off a few inches above the bottom and there's the fuel.

Pump BOTH glycerol and BioDiesel into separate water heaters (Maybe a 20 gal for the Glycerol and a 60 gal for the fuel.) via cold water inlet port. (Also equipped with ball valves.) Once pumped in and partially, but not all the way full turn on the heat.

Hot water outlets of the water heaters have been plumbed to a condenser (Old automotive radiator? Coiled copper pipe?) and the output of this condensor goes to a sealed container for capturing methanol for reuse.

Contents of the water heaters can be pumped out via the drain.
Finally, magnesol and filtration for the biodiesel. Glycerine can be disposed of.



So I'd need space for one mixing and settling drum. Two water heaters, a bag filtration area, and maybe one or two drums for storage of finished product. I think I can fit that in a 8x12 shed.

Initial filtration and storage of raw oil would be done outside. Storage would be a 375 Gallon home heating oil tank that I have. Trash pumps should be able to move even congealed oil.



My main problem was fire control in the event something happened while I was away. Methanol recovery and settling would be unattended. I'd just need to filter the raw stuff and set the mixing...
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Old 08-30-2008, 08:59 PM
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At my old place when I lived in town we had 2 city lots, when I was making bio. I had a place in the middle of my back yard that had a cement slap (10x12) put in with a slight slope the the center in case of any spills. and put one of those auto canapes over the top. I also had 1 fire hose and 2 Has-mat extinguishers with in arms length at all times. I also had a fully has-mat first aid kit on hand too. We also had 3 works stations set up all with a 2 feet between them. that lowered the fire danger also. *If you don't have a fire hose, a garden hose with a 4 setting nozzle. Most good first aid kits have a Has-mat kit in them. If you don't have one, you should. same with Has-mat extinguishers...*
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Old 08-30-2008, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pele View Post
So I'd need space for one mixing and settling drum. Two water heaters, a bag filtration area, and maybe one or two drums for storage of finished product. I think I can fit that in a 8x12 shed.

It'll be tight. Before we moved into the warehouse, we looked at small storage buildings. We have a BioPro 190, which is an all-in-one de-water, process, wash, dry machine, about the size of a commercial fridge. Along with that we have the 55 gallon methanol drum, three 55 gallon drums for finished product (one for each of us partners), and a 55 gallon drum for the glycerin, which we empty out every so often. And we have three 55 gallon drums near the machine that hold WVO filtered and ready to be processed. Plus, a small area for the chemicals. Even if we didn't have that many finish barrels and kept the raw WVO outside, an 8x12 is pretty tight. A 10x14 would give you quite a bit more room, but your mileage may vary.

My only point is that if you think you need 8x12, you probably need more.

TX
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Old 09-01-2008, 07:48 PM
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setting up a small shed (10*12) for the proccess.
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Old 09-01-2008, 07:48 PM
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