Sunday, December 28, 2008

Quick "N" Dri

Read about this stuff that you run your biodiesel or WVO through to remove water at Utah Biodiesel Supply. It's called Quick "N" Dri.

Basically you build a tower, not unlike the Purolite resin tower, and then you just run your biodiesel or WVO through it to remove your water. Apparently a single pound will remove 12 gallons of water before needing to be regenerated. Regeneration is nothing more than letting the stuff sit out in the sun and dry out! For the price I'm going to have to order some and test it out.

Jerry Rig II Bottom Drain

Ok, after much delay, mostly procrastination, I have begun building Jerry Rig II!

First step was to cut a hole to allow for the insertion of a kitchen sink drain. To cut a hole I just my Dremel with a grinding disc attached. Why a kitchen sink drain you ask?! Well I had read some fellows that had used this technique with great success. Some other reaons:

*No welding needed
*Larger drain area
*Less cost (I'm all about saving money!)

So here are some pictures of my progress so far.

From Jerry Rig II

From Jerry Rig II

Next step is to hammer, pound, the bottom in order to create a bowl shape similar to a wok. By creating slopped sides it will aid in completely draining glycerol and water. I'll also be adding a water heater element to aid in heating up the WVO for the process and possibly for heating up the biodiesel to remove/recover methanol.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Biodiesel Cold Weather Issues

Well, here's a visual example of what happens to B100 when the temps drop to around 28 degrees fahrenheit.
From The BioD TDI
Depending on the vegetable oil you started with and how good your process was will determine the gel point of your biodiesel. If you use the hydrogenated style of oils you will have higher gel point.

With winter the use of B100 is pretty much going to be put on hold, especially for those of us in the northern regions. While one could install a two tank system like the straight vegetable oil (SVO) to preheat and then switch over to the B100. For the rest of us we will have to take blending our B100 with either DinoDiesel or with some Kerosene. Now I have to say I myself have not yet done this so I can't provide my personal insight on this, YET. As soon as I'm finished and start processing in the new Jerry Rig II I'll have to do some blending in order to use my fuel. Looks like I'll have to start maybe with a 80% B100 blended with 20% Kerosene as a starter. As it gets colder the blend of Kerosene will have to increase. But basically I'll have to take samples and experiment with the blend in order to get the right mix before adding to my tank.

Here's a nice discussion on the matter on the Biodiesel Infopop forums into the matter. I'll also add this link directly to the side bar for easier access.

Friday, November 21, 2008

2009 Green Car Winner is........'09 Jetta TDI

Well, for those of us in the VW TDI world this comes as no surprise but the folks over at have voted the 2009 VW Jetta TDI as the greenest car for 2009.
For more on this click here to read the article.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Jerry Rig II Update

Well just wanted to share the design of the Jerry Rig II processor with you. I've gathered all the required parts needed and just need to start assembling. I'm guessing should take me 3 nights to get everything assembled.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A great moment in US history

Tonight I shed tears of joy and pride for our country. During a time of confusion where it's people were searching for hope and leadership we came together to elect that one person that brings us hope.

A step towards the future and the realization of Dr. Martin Luther King's dream and leaving the ugliness of racism behind. I know there will still be those that will continue to harbor hate in their hearts, but for this new generation we shall go forward to forge a new future for all.

I can't say it enough how proud I am that I cast my vote for President Elect Obama and that I'm a citizen of the United States of America! God bless Barack Obama and God Bless The United States of America.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Day to Make History

One of the great things about the United States is the ability for it's citizens to vote for their leaders, albeit it sometimes feels that they don't hear or listen to us. So today we go to the polls to cast our vote, our voice for the individuals we feel that can lead our country in the right direction and prosperity. Regardless of your ideology or party affiliation you have to vote! That's the least one must do in order to be a citizen.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Proof in the Pudding (Purolite that is!)

Just wanted to share some pictures of the Purolite results.  In the first image you see the biodiesel in it's raw form after the removal of the glyerol.  Next to it is a small sample of the same biodiesel after it's journey through the Purolite resin tower.  As you can see it's clarity is amazing!

In the last image I added water to simulate a water wash to remove out remaining impurities and soap.  I gently agitated the two samples and you can see the amount of soap (white water at the bottom) that the raw sample had in it.  The water in the Purolite sample is clear as can be!  Using water to get the biodiesel to this stage would have take the better part of 2 days to wash and dry before I could use it.

As you can see the Purolite definitely delivers on it's claims.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Stinky Biodiesel?!

Looks like a new crop has potential for the source of biodiesel.  Stinkweed (Pennycress:Thlaspi arvense L.).  This crop is a fall/winter crop that produces seeds that have a 35% oil yield.

More on this in this article.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Water Washing Revisited

Ok, I've taken a detour from the dry wash resin tower, which has been great, to experiment and test something I just read about water washing.  

Up til now I've been using standard tap water from a garden hose and the use of a mister.  Washing would take on average 3-4 days before I was able to use the biodiesel.  I read on the Infopop Biodiesel forum about the use of hot water and static washing as a way to pull out the soap from the processed biodiesel.  So I tested in a small beaker with some very hot water and WOW soap dropped like an anchor within seconds!  I let this sample set and within an hour I had mayonnaise at the bottom of the beaker.  I washed the sample maybe a total of 4 times with  a fraction of the water I would have regularly used.

So I decided to test on a 11 gallon batch to see if the results were the same.   I used the turkey fryer to bring the 3 gallons of water to a boil, overkill most likely and poured it in.  I let the batch settle for a few hours and came back and drained off the soapy water.  I repeated this process 3 times and my biodiesel was perfect!  I think I lucked out on this batch as the oil wasn't as heavily used thus making the soap content less.  On the batch I tested from the Vietnamese place the oil had been used pretty hard and there was a crap load of soap and would have most likely required a few more washes.  But the end result would have still required less water and speed up my washing time.

I will reserve this technique for use on the oil that has been heavily used in order to limit the amount of soap introduced to my resin thereby extending its life.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Latest update

Well, 22 gallons later (2-11 gallon batches) I have had some good results.  These latest batches were done using the 80/20 method and run through the resin towers.  Man I can't say enough about the resin towers!  I can process and have the biodiesel in the car in one day.  No more water! 

On another not I've decided to dump the vietnamese restaurant oil.  The stuff is so over used and nasty that I just don't think it's worth it.  I have found another source, a local doughnut shop that has given me their blessing.  Gonna have to figure out a way of "sucking" oil out of a dumpster.  I know this is questionable at best but I guess I can play dumb and say the owner said I could.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

And the results!?

Finished processing using the 80/20 recipe and the results were great!  Batch passed the 3/27 test with no fall out or settling what so ever, basically means I had a very complete reaction which is a good thing.

Afterwards I decided to run the biodiesel through one of my resin towers manually.  I poured in a pint of unwashed biodiesel in 15 minute intervals that in the end yielded me nearly 5 gallons worth.  When compared with the unwashed sample it was much clearer but I decide to test for soap content.

Took one sample and poured in hot water and soap began to drop out pretty fast, no agitating required.  Within 5 minutes I had very white layer of water/soap at the bottom of this sample.  Took a sample from the resin washed and repeated the same process.  NO SOAP what so ever!  Water stayed clear the entire time.  Went one step further and shook this sample to see if any soap would fall out.  Drum roll please....................NO SOAP STILL!  Poured the 5 gallons into tank this morning and life is good.  I'll be dry washing the remaining 6 gallons tonight to put into the tank

So, in summary from processing to tank using the resin towers takes 24 hours. 

I'm sold on the resin!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Jerry Rig I out, Jerry Rig II in!

While it's only be a short time that I've been processing using JRI (Jerry Rig I) I've learned a lot!  The greatest lesson is that I need to increase my production output and reduce my time making biodiesel! 

Since I'm logging 600+ miles a week my need has out paced my current capacity of JRI, 10 gallons.  At this rate I have to process every week or twice a week and it seems I'm spending more time processing than with my family.  Not good.  If I were doing city driving I think I would fine but as it is now I'm unable to stay ahead of my consumption.

So, I'm in the planning and building stages of Jerry Rig II, a 55 gallon drum.  This will allow me to process around 30-40 gallons of veg oil.  With this rate I could stay well ahead of my needs and only need to process maybe once a month.  Thereby spending more time with the family.

The JRII will be essentially the same design with one slight modification in the addition of an electric water heater element.  This will allow me to preheat the oil in the processor, compared to using my turkey fryer to do this.  I'll still probably use the turkey fryer to jump start the warming process so as not to have wait and use so much electricity.  The turkey fryer I can heat up 5-7 gallons to 150+ degrees in under 10 minutes.  Now I've got to go find at least one or two more sources of oil!

Planning on modifying JRI to become a methanol recovery system, essentially a still.  I'll be taking some time to research and build that, so as to not blow up my shed!

New 80/20 recipe test

I've got a 10 gallon batch in the JR I ( Jerry Rig I) ready for processing.  This time around I'm going to test using a different processing "recipe".  In this process I'm going to introduce 80% of the methoxide, mix for 1-2 hours, and then drain of the glycerol.  Then add the remaining 20% and mix for another 1-2 hours.  Let settle overnight before draining the glycerol.

Why?!  Well in this process it is assumed that if all of the methoxide were used all at once that it would get exhausted before getting a complete reaction, in simple terms.  By introducing the remaining 20% at the half way point is introducing fresh methoxide that should complete the process of any unreacted biodiesel.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Purolite PD206 Ion Exchange Resin Tower (Dry Wash Tower)

Well, as promised here are the pictures of the completed 24" dry wash towers.  Made with Schedule 40 PVC, whatever that means.  Fellow biodiesel partner in crime, Frank, came over this morning to assist in assembling these.  We end up making up 4 towers total, 2 for each of us.

Into these towers will go 2 pounds of Purolite PD206 resin.  There's quite a bit of space left over to allow for expansion of the resin.  They must swell a hell of a lot to need 24"!  2 pounds of this stuff won't take up more than 4" at best!  I'll report back on how they do and with biodiesel results.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dry Washing

AAARRRGGGH!  I've had it with water washing my biodiesel!  Takes way to  much time and water to get a batch done.  In replacement I've ordered some Purolite PD206 from the folks over at Houston Biodiesel to dry wash my biodiesel.  Houston Biodiesel offers plans, parts, and the Purolite for the building for the dry washing towers with standard PVC parts for a very reasonable price.

In simple terms, you take your biodiesel that has been separated from the glycerol by product and run it through the Purolite PD206, at a certain flow rate, and clear filtered biodiesel comes out ready to be put in your tank!  In theory from process time to fill up time could be achieved in less than 5 hours, depending on the amount of biodiesel needing to be filtered.  Once the Purolite PD206 is exhausted you just back flush with methanol to remove contaminants, dry and reuse!  One pound of the Purolite PD206 can in theory process up to 100 gallons before needing to back flushed, I'll report back on that.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Some Newbie Issues

So, after having completed the Jerry Rig and processed 13 gallons I made some rookie mistakes.  After some research and assistance from the the folks over at the Infopop Biodiesel forums I was able to recover from my mistakes.  My errors were two fold that all occurred after a successful initial process.  Both issues were post process errors that were frustrating.

Error number one was in attempting to get as a complete/pure biodiesel.  I performed a test called 3/27 that is a good indicator to the completeness of the process or purity of the biodiesel.  This test requires that you mix 3ml of biodiesel to 27ml of methanol and observe for any settling or fallout of any unprocessed oil.  In my case there was minimal dropout less than 1/2ml based visual inspection at the bottom of my test jar.  Based on this there is a standard reprocessing recipe that will remove the remaining free fatty acids.  This recipe is to mix 1ml of lye with 50ml for every liter of biodiesel.  Well, I got just a wee bit to much lye in the recipe and my biodiesel turned to gravy or better known as soap!  Well drained this out of the processor and into a jug for future experimentation.  It would appear that the combination of this "gravy" and glycerol (the by product of making biodiesel) in about 3:1 ratio allows for the lye to drop back out.  Tested this out with a liter of "gravy" and got my biodiesel back.

Second situation was in washing 8 gallons of biodiesel.  During the first wash I introduced a bubbler to help in the washing of the biodiesel, a popular technique.  After a couple of hours of bubbling I came back to find this very milky liquid that turned out to be emulsion, essentially soap suspended in the biodiesel.  I attempted to wash a second time but the results were identical, so back to the forums.  There I found that bubbling during the first wash was not recommended and it should be used during the second or third wash at the earliest.  DOH!  But the forums were awash with cures for this to rescue the biodiesel.  The cure is the use of a salt water solution to break the emulsion bonds.  I simply mixed one gallon of hot water and some Kosher salt, about 1/3 of the box, and mixed it into the biodiesel.  Mixed for about 5 minutes then let the batch settle overnight and VIOLA!  This particular batch has been washed and dried and is now in the Beetle!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jerry Rig Video

Just wanted to share a video of the Jerry Rig Processor in action.  In this video I'm circulating some finished Biodiesel in order to dry it of water from the wash process.

Click here to see video.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jerry Rig Processor

Allow me to first give credit and thanks to all those who helped me and answered my questions. Without their knowledge I wouldn't have been able to accomplish this.

Well, after months of talk, researching, and planning I have completed my biodiesel processor! Tonight I will running my first large batch of about 8 gallons. This design allows me to use the single to process, settle, wash, and dry in one tank. This was chosen in order to conserve space and reduce cost of materials. While I only have on TDI that requires diesel this processor will produce around 11 to 13 gallons of finished biodiesel.

Future plans are to eliminate the wash and drying process through the use of Puralite to do final removal of any remaining lye and methanol. This will reduce the processing time, cost, and use of water during the wash cycle.

I'll try to post complete construction, operation, and results details by this weekend.  Also, the lack of updates to this post is due to have created another blog for a TDI club that we created here in central Indiana.