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Picture of Make Your Own Biodiesel Processor
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In a world where environmental awareness is becoming increasingly important for individuals, businesses, and mankind as a whole, it's always important to be looking for ways to re-use waste and cut carbon emissions. Biodiesel is a great way to do this. You're reusing waste oil and reducing your impact on the environment.

This Instructable will take you step-by-step through the process of making a BioDiesel processor. This type of Processor is called an appleseed processor. It uses an old (or new if you feel like dropping the money) water heater. The amount of fuel you can make will depend on the size tank you use. My first prototype uses a 10 gallon tank. Not too efficient if you plan on making large quantities, but great for figuring things out.

Before you do this project you should research the process and dangers involved in producing biodiesel at home.

Before you run out and buy $100+ worth of plumbing materials, I should say this: As biodiesel becomes more and more popular the resources available become more and more scarce, and people are starting to charge for things that used to be free, specifically Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO). I would suggest securing a source for WVO before you embark on this project.

There are many unspoken rules about gathering WVO from businesses, and I can talk about those in another instructable. For now just know that you CANNOT just take oil, for this you can get arrested and tried. You also need to be consistent (If you say you'll be there every Tuesday to pick up someone's oil and you show up on Wednesday half the time people will often give your oil to other people).



My instructable on how to use this processor can be found here.

 
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aibarra13 years ago
please I need to know how to use the processor ?
http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-Biodiesel/
blueline232 years ago
I like this system. Congratulation. Here is a website where you can learn how to build different eco-friendly devices.
Matt D6553 years ago
Bio-diesel is very useful. They even have bio-diesel heaters.

Matt D6556 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
It is possible but you should never try it. The only way it will work is if the car is to full temp and diesel is added it the tank but when it cools there is no chance of starting it till the tank and fuel lines have been drained and the fuel injectors are cleaned. (That all refers to dino-D but should be about the same.)

Do not try running any Diesel on a gas engine.
NO
MT-LB Matt D6554 years ago
Before you try this, read about how diesel and gas engines work first. If you do want alternative fuel for your engine, try alcohol fuel or natural gas.
drinkmorecoffee (author)  Matt D6556 years ago
No.
nolanpoe5 years ago
where do i get a water heater. is it assumed that i have an old one lying around. thanks, nolan
As a reminder if using an old water heater I recomend filling and flushing the tanp several times to make sure that nothing that settled in the tank (hard water).
You can use an old immersion heater or hack one out of an old kettle.

*BUT* they are way too hot for this application it will boil and brun the oil. You will need to step down the voltage to reduce the output. A 2KW kettle element @220V can be stepped down with a 110V transformer to 1KW.
BE CAREFUL about heating the oil! You need to keep the temperature below the boiling point of methanol (about 62C) or you will release a toxic cloud of methanol fumes!
Oops! Forgot that slightly important bit of information!

I used a submersible thermostat on mine set to 60C about 2/3 of the way up the tank and a good flow around the element from the pump to prevent any overheating.

And of course, a very well ventilated area to work in.
A tip if using a white board is to use wet-erase markers and not dry-erase markers. The reason is you will not rub the marker off and when you do clear it with a damp cloth it does not leave a residue that cant be removed (try removing dry-erase markers after it has been on it for a few days.)
Great Article! I like the stop and think first approach, I have purchased the Old School Black Boards from closing schools I can cut them into any size needed and put wood frames or metal frames I even have some felt errasors.
www.johnsartsandcrafts.com visit or send for more info.
oilitright3 years ago
I hope anyone who considers either biodiesel or SVO does some serious investigation into the availability of feed stock. The days of readily procurable waste oil from restaurants and other sources has for the most part disappeared. When biodiesel and WVO was pretty much unknown to the general public there was a lot more waste oil to be found for free. Now days there are so many companies paying for waste oil it is hard to come by. Unless you have a known secured source think very hard before proceeding.

As far as the WVO vs biodiesel argument goes, this too needs a thorough examination and understanding of the factors involved. Most importantly what kind of vehicle are you going to use it in as fuel. Where you live in relationship to weather and temperature is a factor. If you have a relatively new diesel vehicle you can pretty much forget about WVO unless you exert great effort in making sure you are doing it correctly, new diesel fuel systems are not at all tolerant and are hugely expensive to repair. But if you have an older diesel you are in a much better position to try WVO.

Biodiesel will be ok in newer vehicles again the fuel systems are expensive and can be cranky so unless you are confident your biodiesel meets fuel standards you risk disaster.

I have 20+ years experience with alternative fuels, live totally off the grid, run vehicles on both biodiesel and WVO, heat my shop and make hot water with waste motor oil and heat my house with wood and also use PV and solar for heating.
hyoung3 years ago
love this post. this is what instructables is all about. makes me wish i had all my cars converted to such fuel. We know there are soo many places that waste their oil. it would be such a lucrative self employment indeed.
kudos to the posting.
marcintosh3 years ago
This is spot on thanks. I however have decided not to go this route. I'm headed to SVO land. In this place I'm not concerned about glycerine disposal, methanol and it's attendant issues (use storage recovery aquisition etc). I'm not concerned with burning anything down or blowing it up. My concerns are with filtration and moving it to and fro and storage.
Do not let me rain on your parade though. I'm certain that at one point or another I will become brave enough to move from SVO to BioD.
Thanks again
Bytesmiths3 years ago
I've had very bad luck using the Harbor Freight "clear water pump" pictured here. I went through two of them before switching.

Problem is it is only rated for room temperature fluids.

I prefer a Taco or Grundfuss pump that is designed for hydronic heating systems. They cost about twice as much (~$80 vs ~$40), but they are designed for circulating hot liquids.

An added advantage is that these pumps are "flange mount," which means it is very simple to change them out -- although they don't ever need it! In contrast, the "theaded in" Harbor Freight pump causes you to disassemble almost everything to swap it out -- which was twice, in my case.
Esmagamus6 years ago
I suggest you put a low-pressure methanol recovery system there. I wouldn't want any unreacted methanol filling my garage or diesel tank with fumes. I can get you a schematic of a processor with methanol recovery, if you want to. Keep it green, keep it safe.
Since it is the biggest cost component of biodiesel, methanol recovery can be useful, but also consider that it makes your biodiesel "better" than commercial biodiesel.

In the winter, I purposely leave the methanol in the biodiesel and don't wash it. This allows me to run B100 down to about -7C, whereas commercial biodiesel is a solid brick at that temperature. You generally cannot use commercial biodiesel below about 3-5 degrees C, but just a bit of residual methanol lowers the cloud point significantly.

That said, in the summer, I do recover methanol. The beauty of an Appleseed design is that it can be pressurized with a vacuum pump. I then use an aluminum radiator with a fan for a heat exchanger to distill the methanol out.

But consider also the energy cost and time of doing this. I recover about 2 litres of methanol from a 120 litre batch. So that's a savings of $8 or so for hours of extra work.
drinkmorecoffee (author)  Esmagamus6 years ago
Yep, methanol recovery is next on the list. Thanks for the input! -DMC
yo man whats up!!! i like how you made your bio-diesel processor here is a picture of my processor i make with my dad. i can make 20 gallons at a time!!!! i also have alot of good web-site's to help you with any problems you have i'll give you a web-site biodieselpictures.com they have alot of cool pic's all about bio-diesel
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Be very careful with a poly processor. I have a friend in Mololla, Oregon, who burnt down his barn (and $20,000 worth of solar panels) when the processor heater melted the poly tank, which then ran out, causing the heating element to explode and ignite the biodiesel, which then ignited the methanol stored on site.

Thinks can get out of hand VERY QUICKLY! I strongly suggest avoiding the combination of plastic tanks and electric heating elements. You can use a poly tank processor ONLY if you use hydronic heating that well NEVER get hot enough to melt the tank!
Do you have a parts list for this?
Steven, I like your system. Is it possible to obtain a step by step schematic of your entire processor? Thanks, Jim jpaulstra@hotmail.com
I had an inkling that might be a problem. Think you could share the love my way, Esmagamus?
danfolkes3 years ago
I had a REALLY good idea! :-D
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tysherman3 years ago
I love the set-up, it looks somewhat mobile, which is what I'm trying to go for. The only question I have so far is, do you wash your biodiesel after it is finished in this particular processor? If so, may I ask what technique you've found is best for this task? Thanks!
Biodiesel6 years ago
Two other often-cited sources to stay away from are Josh Tickell's From The Fryer To The Fuel Tank (even worse than Kemp) and Journeytoforever.org
What is wrong with journeytoforever? I have been using thier methods for years without any problems?
proetus5 years ago
hey dmc lemme be frank im bit new to this field of biodiesel...but read thro ur instructable ....wus actually curious 2 know in what way does this your bdp top the previously made ones.
CAMACHO8155 years ago
NICE SETUP. CAN YOU ALSO WASH AND DRY IN THAT PROCESSOR?
drinkmorecoffee (author)  CAMACHO8155 years ago
I suppose you could, if you were careful. I don't, however.
Derin6 years ago
mazot var mı ki biomazot yapıcan?
n4zou6 years ago
A word of caution about using non taxed fuels in a vehicle using public roadways. There are severe fines involved. The fine for using non taxed fuel on federal financed highways is $12,000. You'll need to check your state government highway department to find out what that fine will cost you. In Alabama it's also $12,000. If your found using non taxed fuel on highways maintained with both federal and state funds you can and will be fined $24,000 in Alabama. It could be more or less according to your state. Alabama is looking for and prosecuting persons using non taxed fuels including Biodiesel in vehicles operating on public roadways. Your state government may also be doing the same.
OK. I'll bite. How exactly would anyone know what your vehicle is running on?
Big Brother is watching. Nothing comes between the Government and its Tax dollars. NOTHING, I TELL YOU!!!!! But seriously, they will never find out so keep on truckin'.
By taking a sample of it to confirm your not running road diesel after they smell that distinctive Biodiesel smell. Coloring is added to road and off road diesel fuels so a quick color check is all it takes. They get the sample from a purge valve on the fuel injector. Alabama also also passed a law requiring waste cooking oil could only be collected by a certified collection company, thus preventing it's use as a motor vehicle fuel.
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