Instructables

Make Your Own Biodiesel!

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video Make Your Own Biodiesel!
This video shows how easy it is using items available at nearly any supermarket, and details some facts about biodiesel fuel you may not have known!

PREPARE THE METHANOL/LYE MIXTURE IN A WELL VENTILATED AREA (preferably outside)! FOLLOW ALL PRECAUTIONS LISTED ON THE HEET/ LYE CONTAINERS!

Ingredients: 1 cup (250 ml) Heet brand Fuel Line Additive (Methanol), 1/2 Tsp (4 grams) Lye drain cleaner, 4 cups (1 litre) vegetable oil, protective eyewear, rubber gloves, dry glass jar with airtight lid, Dry 2 litre pop bottle, funnel.

Step 1: Mix the methanol and lye in the glass bottle. Swirl and/or stir/shake until all lye is dissolved.

Step 2: Heat Veggie oil to approximately 60 C or 140 F.

Step 3: Use funnel to add oil to 2 litre pop bottle. Add Methanol/lye (methoxide) mixture with funnel. Cap the bottle and shake vigorously for 20-40 seconds.

Step 4: Watch over the next 20 mins as Glycerin layer forms at bottom of pop bottle. The upper layer (lighter colored) will be cloudy. Over the next 1-2 days, the upper layer will become crystal clear. Congrats! You've just made Bio-Diesel!
shynex1 year ago
where the video ???
Pyrophoric2 years ago
Shaking vigorously for a few seconds won't produce much of a yield. You must let the solution stir for about an hour using a stir plate. The settling process also takes about an hour.
05Cummins3 years ago
Can any of you tell me what the shelf life of Bio diesel is?
you might want to mention that different oils have different pH's and different pH's will gererate different amounts of fuel/glycerin, also if you do decide to use waste oil, WVO, then you need to titrate it, doing a 1 liter batch compined with about 2 mL's of phenolphthalein and adding successive drops of a 1 molar sulferic acid solution. this is just a general overview, but you might consider it. other than that very informative
babblin5 (author)  captainpyro16 years ago
Exactly. Another option is to simply use 1 TSP lye, which works with about 99% of used oil, although you have to do some washing of the end product to get rid of any excess NaOH. You can also titrate using a bit of the oil thinned with isopropyl alchohol, and then a known percentage of NaOH suspended in water and use the Phenol for pH change, then calculate from that. But this video was primarily used as an introductory piece. =)
What is the shelf life of the BD once it has been washed?
ani4meg4 years ago
can anybody suggest and send me the project on my email- iamabadboy.anirudh@gmail.com project on information and communication technology school level project and green energy
hill4 years ago
 so, i read all of the comments but i still need to know if this method of making biodiesel requires me to wash the biodiesel ?? of can the "upper layer" be used right away without being washed after it turns "crystal clear" ??

thanx 
Mr. Rig It6 years ago
It is my understanding that Mr. Diesel did not create the diesel engine to run on biodiesel but to run on coal dust. Coal dust was a nuisance at the coal mines and no one had a use for the dust itself so there were piles and piles of it. So Mr. Diesel came up with his engine to use this untapped resource. However, I am not saying you are wrong I am just saying this is what I have learned. have you heard this also?
NO he created it originally to run on peanut oil so that is basically biofuel
Yep...Peanut oil is correct!
babblin5 (author)  Mr. Rig It6 years ago
In 1892 Rudy built the Carnot Heat Engine, which is the engine that burned coal dust. In 1897 he built his first prototype Diesel engine (which almost exploded as he was demonstrating it, which just goes to show that our Instructable disasters go a LONG way back ;) Ross
ahh.. good info, that does sound familiar now. Thanks for the info and yes our disaters do go a long way back.
lilykoart5 years ago
great video! i wonder why biofuel isn't used more??? any future instructions on how to titrate the fuel out and actually use it? can i put this fuel in my 2004 toyota highlander? thanks for sharing and looking forward for more of your instructables!
wenpherd5 years ago
can you use make veggie oil out of corn and wud it work?
fafa boy5 years ago
nice
mr.space5 years ago
I know this sounds stupid, but could you use methelated spirits?
i think video won't show player
ajparag5 years ago
thank u for posting such a wonderful project.... I want to know what is the concentration of methanol... example:10%...20%...50%... i m going to purchase it from lab and they need to know the concentration
anoniemouse5 years ago
I plan to do some lower temp metal melting. I saw a used-oil fired blast furnace. It appears that new motor oil will not fire up, B U T, Used, filtered motor oil works great. So you need to use used oil only, even for biofuels. Anybody have an explanation why this so?
Matt D6555 years ago
i know at least 30 different facts of diesel and gasoline for an example if you throw a match on a puddle of Kero or Diesel it wont work and put it out...if you throw a different match on gas...DAMN it will work
Matt D6556 years ago
Fact alcohol is bad for diesel engines dont use alcohol in there.
babblin5 (author)  Matt D6556 years ago
Ummm... you do understand that you actually aren't putting ANY alcohol in your engine, right? It merely serves as a catalyst for creating biodiesel, and is the standard chemical used in home to commercial BD production...
ya i guess ur right
nature2235 years ago
you also need the correct fuel mapping and the correct hoses....or it'll run ok,then freak out..and blow lines
ia2ca19846 years ago
This is wonderful, but indulge a novice if you would. I don't have a diesel vehicle so where else could I use it?
I've heard that it work very well for getting grease stains out of clothing. I've also heard that you can add some biodiesel to normal gasoline and anticipate doing some experiments with one of my small 2 cycle engines first.
babblin5 (author)  ia2ca19846 years ago
Hmmm... I'm not sure that it really has any other uses besides that. I may be wrong.
msw100 babblin55 years ago
It will work in an oil fired boiler
Spencerr5 years ago
could this be used for a 2 stroke engine?
RAD_ED6 years ago
You for got to mention that Biodiesel can eat threw normal rubber hoses other wise great instructable.
babblin5 (author)  RAD_ED6 years ago
You are correct, which is why I mentioned that they run on newer diesel engines without modification. After 1993 (I think it was the year) sulphur was discontinued as an additive in petro-diesel for lubrication due to acid rain problems. Cars manufactured after that year were made with different fuel lines because the new additive degraded rubber fuel lines as well. Thank you for the comment! =)
So after 1993 is a good year to get?
babblin5 (author)  jimmysanders6 years ago
Generally anything AFTER 1993. Remember, cars come out the year before their actual "date". Also, BD clubs are springing up all over the place, city-wise, especially as gas prices continue to go up...
daedalus156 years ago
biodiesel IS easy to make but not quite this easy.There are a few more steps and the lye can't be just off the shelf drain cleaner it has to be at least 85% pure(drain cleaner is about 50%) if you want to make good BD. A realy good place for more info journeytoforever.org.
babblin5 (author)  daedalus156 years ago
Red Devil drain cleaner is 100% lye (sodium hydroxide).
babblin5 (author)  babblin56 years ago
It's also fat-free and has Omega 3's in it, plus that yogurt culture that regulates your digestive system... ;)
Alathald6 years ago
Love the concept but you really need to break your video up into individual steps, esp for the folks still using dial up...
i think that applies to no one anymore. lol.
Unfortunately, it applies to me and a lot of people I know...Just a repressed genius living in the backwoods of Ohio, you know how it goes ;-) Oh well, I'll hopefully make it to somewhere more...civilized next fall, I'm off to college after all. Besides, it's always nice to have something to print out so you don't have to watch the video over and over.
z2daj Alathald6 years ago
that also applied to me last year. i live in CT and i'm 15 and it took me three years to convince my parents to switch to high-speed internet (charter...) and they have thanked me for it over and over. high-speed internet only came available in my town two or three months before we got it so, maybe one day you'll be in the reach of high-speed internet
Really?.......do you live near Belpre or Parkersburg.
Not really, I live just far enough south of Hillsboro to only have access to dial-up...bah-humbug
ahhhhhh man that really sucks. »: c
My dad has a sat connection 256k but works like a charm when I'm at my summer house of at the top of a mountain =) Get one its like 1+ grand but it is worth it.
cool but I don't have that kind of money.
LOL that seams to be the problem with every one. save up $$
ohh yes it does!! most of this world is not 1st world ;)
babblin5 (author)  Alathald6 years ago
You got it! I'll toss up a full blown Instructable =)
An Instructable would be great! But well done videos like this are perfectly acceptable to post. Thanks for sharing it. I've been wanting some Biodiesel info for a while now.
JeremyA6 years ago
for the most part BioDiesel will have the cetane ratings, and fuel economy. I found I got slightly better economy in my 2005 jetta tdi when I used biodiesel. I believe this has to do with the inceased lubrication that BioDiesel provides. Up to 30% better lubrication.
are the measurements proportional if i upgraded it to my main source of fuel
babblin5 (author)  ledgendarynoone9846 years ago
Absolutely! One caveat is that BD gels at a higher temperature than petroleum based diesel. In other words, if it's chilly outside, you would need a pre-warmer for the tank. To get around this, many people use a 50/50 blend of BD and petro diesel.
what kind of filtering would i have to do to reuse say a restaurants oil
babblin5 (author)  ledgendarynoone9846 years ago
Obviously, you would need to filter out particulate matter. Additionally, you would need a larger amount of lye, because used oil contains much higher levels of fatty acids. Most fully dedicated home BD users will use a pH titration method to calculate exactly how much lye they would need per 1 litre of used oil... but I won't get into the full details here. Suffice it to say, that in 99% of cases, using a full teaspoon of lye mixed in the same amount of methyl will give you the seperation of the glycerin from the used oil, but you would then need to wash the actual biodiesel several times with water (which is generally done even when titration is used) to rid the BD of any excess lye.
kadnk686 years ago
my question is about this step: Step 4: Watch over the next 20 mins as Glycerin layer forms at bottom of pop bottle. The upper layer (lighter colored) will be cloudy. Over the next 1-2 days, the upper layer will become crystal clear. Congrats! You've just made Bio-Diesel! So, do you use that as it is or do you separate the bottom layer from the upper layer?
babblin5 (author)  kadnk686 years ago
You would need to titrate off the upper layer to use as the actual fuel, or, conversely, drain all the glycerin from the bottom. Most commercial BD manufacturing systems do this with a bottom siphon. You can even use the glycerin to make soap!
hi, do you use the glycerin, or the upper layer? which one is actualy biodiesel? thanks
babblin5 (author)  drummonkey926 years ago
The upper layer is the BD. Basically, the act of making biodiesel, put in the simplest terms, is nothing more than "thinning" out the vegetable oil, which is why the glycerin settles down to the bottom. While, as Mythbusters has shown, you CAN run a diesel engine on straight vegetable oil, it's thickness requires certain modifications in order for that to be fully feasible.
My only suggestion would be to be careful with the "close tightly" suggestion. Methonal has a rather low boiling point. I'm sure the soda bottle can withstand the pressure, but...
babblin5 (author)  YuenglingOoB6 years ago
Yes, that's whay it's crucial that the oil temperature is at or below 60 degrees C. Methanol boils at 65 degrees C.

The actual pressure generated by the mixing of the methoxide and oil is negligible, unless the oil temp is too high, in which case you'll have a mess well before you can cap it, but thank you for pointing that out, because it DID need clarification.... =)
I noticed, but if I remember correctly base-catalyzed esterifications are exothermic and will cause the temperature of your mixture to rise. On this scale it shouldn't be a problem. BTW Good video ;P. I've sent it to a family member who was curious about what it takes to make biodiesel.
Swartzkip6 years ago
it should be noted that older diesel engins run on straight veggie oil. (like sunfloweroil) In the former dutch indies, they used to run diesels on penut oil. in fact: if i remember correctly rudolf diesel made his first diesel engine run on coal dust.
babblin5 (author)  Swartzkip6 years ago
You have a great memory! Diesel's proof of concept was a coal dust engine. One of his first public demonstrations used straight peanut oil as fuel. Mythbusters recently did a piece that showed that a diesel CAN run on straight veggie oil, even strained, used fryer oil from a restuarant!
totally forgot about the mytbusters episode, they used an old diesel mercedes. somewhere on the web i found a English bloke who an a car on animal fat (a butcher), only problem is that you have to heat it up, or else it will clog the lines. also I've been told that most diesel cars run on a 50/50 sunflower /normal diesel mix. only problem is that it will smell like a fastfood restaurant, make it kinda obvious you are not running normal fuel, and you might get a fine for not paying fuel taxes. (in the Netherlands that is)
thats not true, if your car is infact burning it, then you wont smell it. this is one of the most common misconceptions. a town in ohio banned ethanol gas in the 70's, a guy was actually making it for the town, because it was made of potatos, and the town feared it would attract bears......
well having smelled a couple of cars (a landrover and a vw t3 diesel)that ran on sunflower oil i know first hand that it smell's like a deep fryer.
VogelYogel6 years ago
Well, you can also run some cars on coconut oil. They do it in the tropical islands like Samoa, PNG, etc.
futeng6 years ago
how much would I need for a cross country road trip?
babblin5 (author)  futeng6 years ago
One person at Metacafe commented that he converted his VW Jetta and it gets 55 MPG if that would halp in calculating =)
Offtopic: having driven a VW bora (other name for jetta) and it runs 25 KL/Liter normal diesel, strange thing a newer vw golf, same weight and engine is much less economic (18KM/L). Strange. you have to control your accelerator tho, else it will drop fast. (for all you eco haters out there: it is not a slow car with 130 HP/97 KW. TDI Diesel)
camp6ell futeng6 years ago
depends which country, i guess
futeng camp6ell6 years ago
can you do conversion for a gallon of gas?
camp6ell futeng6 years ago
yes, i can convert a gallon of gas into another measure of volume
i like this video...but i hate chemistry:p
babblin5 (author)  thelumberjack6 years ago
Me too, believe it or not. At least the mixing part =)
chemistry is hard. well for me, im only in 8th grade!