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Old 09-08-2008, 06:39 AM
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TXHillCountry TXHillCountry is offline
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BioPro 190...three loads under our belt

Just thought I'd post an update on our new BioPro 190. We purchased the unit through Utah Biodiesel Supply as the dealer, and both they and the manufacturer (Springboard Biodiesel), have been top notch in customer service.

Our first batch had problems, and we ended up with a total emulsion of the batch. However, a 5 gallon bucket of hot saltwater later and we were back in business, and we processed a quality load of about 45 gallons. We weren't quite sure what happened at first, but we later determined that after draining off the glycerin, we actually left some in the machine. The issue was that after draining off about 12 gallons and getting into biodiesel, we just stopped and then washed. We found out during the second batch that after the first glycerin drain, we waited about 5 minutes and did it again and got some more. We did that about 2 - 3 more times, waiting about 5 minutes in between until no more glycerin showed up.

On the second batch, we hung around to watch the first water wash cycle kick off, and it didn't. Turns out we had a small mechanical / electrical issue to deal with that kept the unit from auto-pumping the water out, and that was the primary issue that caused the big emulsion in the first batch. We completed the second batch by running the wash cycles in the manual modes, and ended up with nearly 50 gallons of quality product.

Once we worked out the automatic water pump issue, the third batch was the easiest of all, and we just completed another ~50 quality gallons.

Being the cautious types, we opted to run a small part of the first batch in my diesel generator. After about 10 minutes of it purring (well, roaring actually) away in my driveway, my wife came out and asked if someone was grilling burgers.

I'm running part of the first batch in my '03 6.0 right now, and all seems well, and yes, the exhaust does smell like a Burger King.

My overall experience in this is that the actual production of the biodiesel, especially with the highly automated unit we are using, is the light part of the work. The hard work is all of the other logistics of collecting oil, transporting and disposing of the glycerin, etc.

But I did smile as I drove home from the shop today with $1.20 bioD in the tank and looked at the $4.20 for DinoD at the Valero on the corner.

TX
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Old 09-08-2008, 01:54 PM
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Old 09-08-2008, 04:46 PM
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N-I-C-E!

What does one of their units cost anyway (if'n you don't mind my askin')
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Old 09-08-2008, 08:52 PM
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N-I-C-E!

What does one of their units cost anyway (if'n you don't mind my askin')
Got your pacemaker ready? About $8400 plus shipping, so about $9 grand to your door. This is why we went into it with a multi-partner arrangement.

But we wanted something almost totally automated, and pretty foolproof. Aside from draining the glycerin halfway through the process, the rest is totally automated. Plus, it goes through a "pre-processing "stage with some sulphuric acid and methanol that allows it to process some really nasty oil that titrates up to 10, so we have a larger selection of waste oil sources to choose from. With the two stage system (plus automated washing), you don't do any titrating, calculating, etc. The same amount of methanol and catalyst is added every time to 50 gallons of feedstock. The result is pretty much ASTM grade biodiesel.

It's a little slower that some. It does the processing over a 24 hour period, then the washing and drying over another 24 hour period, so it takes 48 hours to complete 50 gallons. So the drawback is that your processor is tied up for 48 hours with a batch since everything happens in the same unit.

TX
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Old 09-08-2008, 09:54 PM
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time is key in making bio. i make 80 gallons over 4 days. it's only a couple hours of work each day, but settling is the big factor. i dewater (~300*) and it takes a day for the oil to cool. the next day i process and let it settle overnight. then i dry wash and let the mangesol settle out over night. this is way easier than trying to filter it all out. then i filter 3x @ 1micron. my dad and i built the machines "industrial" style.

luckily, 80 gallons lasts me a good while.
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Old 09-08-2008, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by TXHillCountry View Post
Got your pacemaker ready? About $8400 plus shipping, so about $9 grand to your door. This is why we went into it with a multi-partner arrangement.

But we wanted something almost totally automated, and pretty foolproof. Aside from draining the glycerin halfway through the process, the rest is totally automated. Plus, it goes through a "pre-processing "stage with some sulphuric acid and methanol that allows it to process some really nasty oil that titrates up to 10, so we have a larger selection of waste oil sources to choose from. With the two stage system (plus automated washing), you don't do any titrating, calculating, etc. The same amount of methanol and catalyst is added every time to 50 gallons of feedstock. The result is pretty much ASTM grade biodiesel.

It's a little slower that some. It does the processing over a 24 hour period, then the washing and drying over another 24 hour period, so it takes 48 hours to complete 50 gallons. So the drawback is that your processor is tied up for 48 hours with a batch since everything happens in the same unit.

TX
WHOA! 9 grand is a chunk of change all right! But, if you've got enough oil sources and use enough of it (like 100 gallons a week in a small fleet for example) saving 3 bucks a gallon on fuel will pay it back in 30 weeks - a pretty reasonable period of time. Especially if you co-op it.

50 gallons every 48 hours isn't bad - better than a gallon an hour. Keep it running almost continously 6 days (150 gallons) a week and it will pay for itself in under 5 months...
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Old 09-09-2008, 07:27 PM
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My machine will make 80 gallons in a 24 hour period if you want to stay with it but I dont have that much time but it is nice to know I can make that much if I need to make it
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Old 09-23-2008, 03:50 PM
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i dewater (~300*) and it takes a day for the oil to cool.
Be aware that 300* or even much hotter DOES NOT remove the emulsified water from VO. Neither will any kind of 'water-seperating' filters.

Very common misunderstanding. Most folks figure if water boils at 212 then heating the VO hotter than that will 'boil off' any water content. But, in fact the boiling point of the emulsified water is much higher and this water content will remain in the oil. It is quite common to see VO w/high water content straight out of the 350* fryer.

I would wager if you drain a bit from the bottom of your container after heating and cooling (settling), you'll find some water. (if there was any to begin with)

Someone once explained it like this, You can heat the ***** out of the oil and try to FORCE the water out or you can heat (110* is plenty) and settle, asking the water to leave nicely. Mom did always say we'd get better results from being 'nice'.

The easiest way to verify if water has been removed is the Hot Pan Test, aka Crackle Test.
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Old 09-24-2008, 11:31 AM
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Be aware that 300* or even much hotter DOES NOT remove the emulsified water from VO. Neither will any kind of 'water-seperating' filters.


Someone once explained it like this, You can heat the ***** out of the oil and try to FORCE the water out or you can heat (110* is plenty) and settle, asking the water to leave nicely. Mom did always say we'd get better results from being 'nice'.
Agreed, our basic approach to dewatering prior to processing is to either (or both) first heat the oil 100+ in a barrel with the belly band heater, and/or put the oil in the processor which has an on-board heater and do the same for day and then drain off the settled water.
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Old 09-24-2008, 03:02 PM
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I would wager if you drain a bit from the bottom of your container after heating and cooling (settling), you'll find some water. (if there was any to begin with)
we always settle our oil for days before working with it. we drain what we can, and the 100* sun on the barrel makes it easy to tell if it has water.
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Old 09-24-2008, 08:00 PM
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we always settle our oil for days before working with it. we drain what we can, and the 100* sun on the barrel makes it easy to tell if it has water.
Not sure I understand the 'easy to tell if it has water' part, but why do you heat the oil SO HOT!

Rule of thumb - the polymerization reaction doubles in speed every 10*C the temp rises. Heating the oil this hot reduces the shelf life of the biodiesel w/o any real benefit.

We only need to heat the oil to make it all liquid and to expedite the 'falling out' of the much heavier water particles. I have been heating to 100-110*'s for the last couple thousand gallons I've dewatered/filtered w/100% effectiveness/success. I tell people if the VO looks like refrigerated butter, the water will remain at what ever elevation it is in, as soon as the oil is liquid, GRAVITY WILL take the water to the bottom.
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Old 09-24-2008, 08:44 PM
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non of my oil looks like butter. it is all pretty clean, sometimes i get it hot from the fryer.

everyone does things differently, but nothing changes the fact that water boils at 212.

it appears that you are running SVO, not bio. your system is more forgiving to water.
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Old 09-25-2008, 04:30 PM
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non of my oil looks like butter. it is all pretty clean, sometimes i get it hot from the fryer.

everyone does things differently, but nothing changes the fact that water boils at 212.

it appears that you are running SVO, not bio. your system is more forgiving to water.
Right. 'Hot from the fryer' can easily have water content over 1000ppm. Don't sweat it - this is the most common misconception about VO.

You are correct, WATER boils at 212*. Water emulsified in VO has a much higher boiling point. The oil does not easily give up the water in emulsion. Its a chemistry/physics thing that is difficult to understand. Beyond that, there is water trapped in the food particles as well, and it won't 'boil off' either.

Do you do a Hot Pan Test, aka Crackle Test? How do you verify your VO is 'dry'?

BTW, I run SVO and B100. Its been a loooong time since I went to the gas station brother. Believe me, I ain't real brite - but I'm not much of a newbie anymore....

Also, I've burned plenty of PH oil that was bone dry, but cloudy or even 'butter' when cool. I've also tested PLENTY of 'clear' VO that was very wet. Appearance is not a good indicator...
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Old 09-25-2008, 07:46 PM
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same here. been a long time since i visited a station for diesel.

i understand your point, but am confident the fuel i am making is good. any extraneous water will be caught in the dry wash. we drain water ever we can before heating it (each day for however long it sits). luckily, i haven't had any butter like you have.

you are not going to convince me 110* and gravity is enough. my oil is sitting outside in 110* weather for days before we actually start working with it.

my fuel passes the 3/27 test which is a good enough indicator for most. do you test? man, i laugh at the experiences we went through getting started in this game.

bottom line is, all of us are ahead of the game when it comes to fuel. i know i will never drive a car again, and now I am positive i will never drive anything but a diesel.
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Old 09-25-2008, 07:46 PM
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