Waste Veggie Oil Heater





Introduction: Waste Veggie Oil Heater

One of the primary issues with driving a vehicle that runs on waste veggie oil is getting that oil hot. Both in the car and when filtering. Here is a simple/inexpensive way to heat up your oil using only two items - magnet wire (30 gauge) and aluminum tape.

Step 1: Wire Calculations

I am using a 30 gauge red magnet wire obtained from Radio Shack. The resistance of this wire is roughly .26 ohm per foot. We need to do some simple math to figure out how much energy and wire we want to use.

My goal was a heater that was about 60W. Here is the way I calculated it.

20' of wire is has a resistance of 5.19 ohm

12V = (I) 5.19ohm
12 / 5.19 = I = 2.31A

12V * 2.31A = 27.7W

About 20' of wire gives me close to 30W of energy. I ended up using two 20' segments for a total of 60W of power.

Step 2: Aluminum Tape

I covered part of my veggie oil filter with aluminum tape. The tape is single sided and costs a few dollars per roll. The idea here is to use two layers. One layer of aluminum tape that touches the filter, and another sandwiches the magnet wire between first layer and second. This should help transfer the heat energy more evenly around the filter.

Step 3: Testing the Heater

I hooked up a 12V motorcycle battery to the two leads I added onto the magnet wire ends. It does not matter which is positive or negative. You can see that the temperature is ready nearly 88F at the top of the filter. This is ideal when filtering veggie oil. I will often bring my oil temperature even higher to something like 120F. In the end you should be able to make about eight of these little heat wraps for less than $10.



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    Heat from exhaust ? can it be use

    Great idea; I just completed a 12v heated fuel pickup with this design. But that math is all wrong. 20' of 30 AWG wire has a resistance of 2.064 ohms, then:

    E=I x R
    12v = I x 2.064 ohms
    i = 5.81 amps

    I is current, not power. To find power:

    P = E x I
    P = 12v x 5.81
    P = 69.7 watts

    So, each of those coils is actually about 70 watts. That's 140 watt heater, not a 60 watt.

    The math I'm using is correct and the same as yours. I intentional avoid using charts and actually measure the resistance of the wire.

    So there's really that much variance in the resistance?

    I like this idea, I think I'll use it to heat something a little bit larger, though. Like, say, a 55 gallon drum of WVO, to separate all the moisture and gunk from the good oil. I've been playing around with heating oil in carboys, and I can get the maximum amount of oil out of the cloudy stuff that doesn't like to react for biodiesel when I heat it to about 100 degrees F. Cheers! -DMC

    depending on your location you might be able to paint your drums black and let them sit in the sun. Then use the heater for additional warming on colder days.

    Actually, that's exactly what we're doing right now. They don't get quite hot enough just sitting in the sun (we have lots of trees, so we only get so much sun in one spot during the day), so this is perfect. What kind of alluminum tape is that? Lowes has 3 or 4 different kinds, one roll is $6, another $8, and a higher grade tape for $16 a roll.

    I suspect the $6 stuff is just fine for this purpose. If it feels flimsy just do another layer of it. I normally use a 1100W bucket heater in the winter to rapidly heat up my 55 gallon drums for filtering. My tanks get sunshine, but when it is below freezing at night that grease sure gets cold. This same heat wrap could also be used around any unheated filters you have in your grease car. -Mikey screwdecaf.cx

    Can a gas car run on this stuff?

    Waste Vegetable Oil will not work in gas based cars, only diesels.

    If you want to make your own fuel for a gas car the only options I know of are:

    - ethanol
    - methanol
    - butanol
    - biobutanol

    basically different forms of alcohol. Usually a slight conversion is required for ethanol. Methanol, butanol, and biobutanol can all be burned in a gas car without modification. Biobutanol would be the most sustainable. I recommend checking out the algae based distillation method that Patrick Ward used over at http://fossilfreedom.com