Introduction: WVO Prep Tank
Here's a little attempt at an all-in-one, "economy" style WVO (waste vegetable oil) prep tank, meant to get that grease all ready and good to go! In theory, the tank should filter most any particulate matter from the waste oil, as well as separate any water suspended within the oil (via heating the oil and then letting it settle again). It even has a nifty gauge to check oil quality and quantity :)
The main purpose here was to construct a practical, fairly inexpensive, yet effective means to store and prepare the WVO. Hopefully that was accomplished...
Step 1: Gathering the Parts...
First step is to gather the parts. I used...
- Plastic 55 gallon drum (10.00)
- Electric hot water heating element and adapter kit (26.00)
- Misc. plumbing adapters (20.00)
- Filter bag (10.00)
- Electrical project box/components (10.00)
Step 2: Preparing the Barrel...
Now on to the good stuff.
I started by cutting a 6 1/2 in. whole in the top of the barrel... This is where the filter bag will fit, as well as allow for a way to clean the inside and reach your hands down there to tighten up the plumbing. One more hole on the bottom for the center drain, and two more on the side (not in picture) for the gauge installment.
When attaching the plumbing, I made sure to use rubber grommets/washers wherever possible, and gasket seal where applicable. The sizes/adapters can be whatever you like, but I used mostly 3/4" fittings.
For the heater installment, it's just a hole with the adapter bolted on, and the project box glued straight to the barrel with adhesive caulk. (The metal plate above the box is a mistake... I decided to lower the heating element).
Step 3: Final Steps...
For now, i just have a coarse strainer that the oil is hand-poured into (or slow fed by a 5 gallon bucket hanging from a hook in the ceiling), which then feeds into the 1 micron filter bag. If your oil is fairly clean to begin with, then the filtering process doesn't take too long, even at room temperature. I just took a piece of vinyl tubing and cut it down the middle lengthwise, and glue it around the edges of the hole to protect the bag from any sharp edges.
In the back of the barrel is the completed project box with the wiring from the heating element, which is so far just wired into a circuit with a simple switch and a 16 gauge cord. I haven't tried the heating element in the oil yet... and I might need to install some type of thermostat or regulator if it gets too hot (but we'll cross that bridge when we get there).
Also, I'd like to eventually add a rotary hand pump to the top of the barrel (via one of the two bung holes), which will pull oil from about 1/4 of the way up from the bottom. Until then, I can just use the relief valve to get clean oil out.
And... so far, so good! I make sure to update with any changes/improvements I make. And I'd love to hear any comments if you have them. Good luck!