Thursday, October 06, 2011

What a summer!

Well I've had issues one after another! First the pump on the Jerry Rig II died 5 minutes into a new batch. The 24.5 gallon batch sat for over a month in the sealed processor and after replacing the pump had an incomplete reaction. Think I just have to re-titrate and do it again. Processor is loaded with another fresh 24.5 gallons and ready to brew again.

OH WAIT! Car problems! Had a shift linkage break on the shifter cable that only left me 3rd and 4th gear. Finally got that fix but know I have seals that have gone bad on my injection pump causing leaks and inability to start the Bug. With the help from the folks over at I have a seal kit on the way and plan on working on that this weekend.

OH...I forgot to mention I added a second processor that now enables me to process nearly 50-80 gallons at a time. Here's a picture of the addition.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sawdust Filter

Well it's been awhile since my last post but it's time to get back to work! Over the next few weeks I will be making some changes to my system to increase biodiesel production.

In order to meet the higher production I had to build a sawdust filtration system to get the biodiesel filtered. This filter is based on a 16 gallon metal drum and a up flow process. The decision on using up flow was based on safety, specifically spontaneous combustion. By using a up flow process the sawdust will always be covered in biodiesel thus preventing the introduction of oxygen and oxidation thus preventing spontaneous combustion.

Will return and post results once the filter is up and running.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mahindra Diesel Trucks

It's nice to see other diesel options finally entering the US auto market. Indian auto and tractor maker Mahindra is about to offer two new vehicles to a small truck and a 4 door SUV Truck. Both will be sporting a 2.2l Common Rail diesel engine. The specs on these are pretty impressive.

-2,765 payload capacity
-236lbs of torque
-4 year/60k Bumper To Bumper Warranty

From reading the news there's plenty of interest in these trucks. Here's a link to their site for more info.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

IT'S SPRING! Time to brew!

Well it's spring time and the smell of used vegetable oil is in the air! Must say the smell of WVO is not that pleasant when you figure all that's been cooked in it. With the price of diesel now up over $3 a gallon it's time to fire up Jerry Rig II!

So this first batch I will be experimenting with a slightly modified way of brewing. In this process rather than start with the WVO and slowly add the methoxide you just reverse the process. To begin the process titrate the WVO as you usually would to determine the amount of catalyst you will need, then add methoxide to your processor. Then you heat up your oil and the first 20% if you WVO and mix for 5 minutes. After the first 5 minutes add 50% of the remaining amount of WVO to the processor and mix for 10 minutes. After the 15 minutes add the remaining amount of WVO and mix for another 10-15 minutes. As you can see the time for processing are quite a bit less than the standard process. But to make sure your process is complete pull a sample a do a 24/7 test.

This method should increase quality of conversion, reduce processing time, and reduce amount of catalyst needed. Here's a link to better explain the process.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Little Down Time and Side Project

Well with winter upon us and temps colder than hell, biodiesel production will have to be put on hold for awhile. Although I do have an idea I need to work to test out.

But in the mean time I've been playing around with another "green" project, a passive solar collector heater. I found a very novel take on this technique through the use of soda or beer cans. At first I thought this was a complete joke but after a Google and YouTube search the concept is very sound.

Basically you cut the bottoms, and in some cases the top, off, glue and stack the cans together, paint the cans black, and then build a frame/box to house the cans into. Insulate the interior and then cover the enclosure with a piece of glass or plexiglass. Place on south facing side of house and VOILA you have an environmentally safe supplemental heat source. From the information I located outside temperature can be as low as 15-20 degrees fahrenheit out side but the unit will produce temps up to 130 or more! Due to the thin aluminum wall of the cans they collect and transfer their heat quickly. Downside is that once the sunlight is gone they don't hold any residual heat. Might look into lining the bottom of the enclosure with 4" ceramic tiles as a thermal mass to store some heat.

I've got the cans glued together and just about finished with a 4" enclosure. Should be ready to paint the cans black tomorrow and test this sucker out. I imagine I could do something with this sucker to preheat in the biodiesel process. Hmmmmm.......

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

There's more in the shed!

So this is what is left after loading my collection/settling tank and processing 24.5 gallons of WVO. There was at least 12 more in the shed but then my friend shows up with 12 more cubes of oil! OH SNAP!

Saw Dust/Wood Chip Filtering

So here's a photo with an example of the results of using maple sawdust & wood chips to filter settled biodiesel. Notice that you can see through the filtered flask. Going ahead with filtering this latest 24.5 gallons with saw dust. Results look very promising!

After some thinking and searching for a possible solution to my pump upgrade I stumbled upon the discussion and use of eductors as a way of increasing the mixing efficiency of large volumes of liquid with existing small pumps. The basic concept is that the liquid is pumped through a smaller orifice, thus creating a high pressure stream, which is shot down the center of a surrounding shroud. The back of the shroud is open allowing for the high pressure stream to create a vacuum. The eductor(s) would be submerged in the bio mix nearly reaching the bottom. Some have designs where the place one at the bottom and one at the near the top.

The eductor has the ability of increasing the mixing capabilities to 3-5 times that of the liquid being pumped. So if this is correct my 5gpm pump would be turned into something like 15-25gpm! Looks like fish pet stores sell them.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Jerry Rig II Update

Jerry Rig II processed 24.5 gallons successfully! Only minor issue was a small leak at the water heater element area. I figured if there were any leaks this would be where it would be, due to a mistake on my part on cutting a hole just a touch to big. I built the processor to low and will have to attach a longer drain hose in order to get good drainage of waste by-product. Also will need to get more powerful pump if I want to process 35-40 gallons.

Will also need to install a second water heater element if I want to preheat the oil faster in the processor. I might look at using the turkey frier to preheat like 5 gallons to 200-300 to help jump start and take a load off of the water heater element. Using the turkey frier I can get those temps in like 20 minutes. But I may go to the second water element in order to prepare for methanol recovery using the same processor, might save this for the spring/summer.

Also revisited testing using sawdust/wood shavings and filtering medium and it seems to work really well! I have friend that gave me some maple sawdust/shavings mixture and it worked great. I'm planning on loading up one of my PVC resin towers with this and test on this batch. Letting the methanol evaporate off as much as possible in order to extend the life of the sawdust and to limit the fire hazard as much as possible. Most likely get to that tomorrow and I'll post report and pictures.