Archive for the ‘Biomass Energy’ Category

Biodiesel Processor: How you can build yours right in your own backyard

July 13th, 2009 | admin

Biodiesel is a self-sustaining domestic and renewable resource that can power your diesel engine without any kind of engine conversion whatsoever. With gas prices soaring out of control and our economy crippled by our reliance on foreign oil companies, the popularity of biodiesel as an alternative fuel is quickly growing in the United States.

Biodiesel is not raw vegetable oil as some people mistakenly believe. It is actually created from natural vegetable oils and fats through a chemical process that converts the vegetable oil and fats into fatty acid methyl esters (FAME). This process is called transesterification. Biodiesel can be used on its own to power your diesel vehicle or it can be blended with petroleum diesel fuel.

The advantages of using biodiesel over petroleum include:

• It can be created fairly inexpensively using recycled cooking oil or other fat animal or plant fat
• It’s biodegradable and completely free of toxins so it’s great for the environment
• It is a sustainable and renewable resource found within our borders so it can limit our dependency on foreign oil
• It emits no greenhouse gases and toxins that cause acid rain

From Pumps to Your Own Backyard with your own biodiesel processor

Biodiesel Pump

Biodiesel Pump

The process of converting raw vegetable oil into biodiesel fuel occurs in what is simply called a biodiesel processor. There are many commercial providers of biodiesel fuel, but these can often be quite pricey because the demand for this product has not yet reached its peak. However, with the increase in popularity of biodiesel, it has sparked a plethora of home brewers worldwide who have taken the time to learn how to brew their own biodiesel fuel and no longer rely on oil companies to power their vehicles.

That feeling of independence is catching and there are many biodiesel brewers who not only brew their own fuel, but they have also created their own biodiesel processors as well. A biodiesel processor can literally be made with items you can find at your local hardware store. There are also many biodiesel processor kits available online. These can be quite pricey, however, starting around $3,500, so consider your costs before you decide to buy.

Of course, the money you will save by creating your own biodiesel will easily pay for itself over time. Consider that the average American family spent more than $3,000 in gas in 2008 alone according to the H&T Index. And that number is going to keep going up with the price of gas increasing on a day-by-day basis.

Now, there are essentially two kinds of biodiesel processors: Batch Processors and Continuous Flow Processors.

Continuous flow processors are not meant for small home brewers because they require an almost 24/7 operation schedule and have larger capacities for creating biodiesel that far exceed what a home brewer would need. The costs of these systems are also extremely high and not practical for the home brewer. Because of that, we won’t go into detail about the different kinds of continuous flow processors as these aren’t practical for an individual to use to home brew biodiesel.

Batch processors are most commonly used by small start ups and home brewers. That’s because it involves a fairly simple method of creating biodiesel. It includes a reaction tank where you mix your oil, alcohol, and catalyst.

There are several different kinds of batch processors available including several commercial made units that you can simply purchase online. These are obviously the most expensive and according to various users on the site www.journeytoforever.com, haven’t produced quality results that warrant the price. They have been known to even catch fire.

Batch processors can actually be built pretty inexpensively just by using parts and pieces around the house or items you can buy at the local store. The most famous example is the Appleseed processor, which is made simply by using a hot water heater as the reaction tank. The water heater can be something you purchase new or even just scavenged from the dump. You’ll need about $150 in plumbing and electrical supplies and about a day’s worth of work.

Another example of a batch processor is the GL Eco-System, which is a waterless biodiesel processor. Similar to the Appleseed design, this processor simply doesn’t require a separate wash system. Every step in the biodiesel production is done in that water tank.

The Foolproof Method processor requires no titration or pH meter. It uses a two-step system and a bottom-drained reaction tank, preferably a stainless steel drum. The first step creates a compound from acid and alcohol. The second step uses lye to form a water soluble salt that is removed during the wash.

Our final example of a batch processor is the Touchless Biodiesel Processor. This processor basically creates biodiesel by flicking a couple of switches and watching the process. It involves a water heater tank, a vacuum pump, and a mixing pump. It can be created using spare parts and household items. This processor takes a little more time to put together but can be worth it in the long run because of its almost automated process.

There are many different recipes to making your own biodiesel using chemicals and ingredients that are easily purchased locally and inexpensively such as lye and methanol, which is just stove oil. You can even recycle the used cooking oil from your local restaurant if you have a good relationship with the owner. Of course, anytime you’re handling chemicals, you should always use extreme caution. While none of the chemicals in biodiesel production are extremely toxic, the oil will be hot and can cause serious burns if not handled with care. We found video down to be fun and informative. It actually takes you through all the steps of making your own biodiesel. We found another helpful site with good step by step videos. You can visit this site (http://www.biodieselvideos.com/)

Creating your own biodiesel is not a hard process, but there is a lot to learn, so we don’t recommend just winging it. Before you begin making your own processor and biodiesel fuel, it’s best to have all the facts and get educated on the entire process first. Then, start off slow by making smaller batches. It will take some practice to get it right and you might have to go through a couple of batches before you get the hang of it. With the right guidance and by carefully following the prescribed process step by step you can easily start to brew biodiesel in your own backyard!