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swede 12-14-2009 08:43 PM

DIY biodiesel
Hi everyone,
I just recently started a job as a heavy duty diesel mechanics instructor at a college. As one of the exercises for the students we had a fellow come down for a biodiesel demonstration and I must say, I was impressed at the simplicity of the process. If done correctly it can be a cost effective alternative to fossil fuels. The variety of materials that the biodiesel guy had made fuel from was impressive. Some materials lend themselves only to a warm climate, but there are some that work well in a cold climate such as here in manitoba. A few of the more typical materials used were new and used corn and canola oil, which with the correct additive you can safely operate to -30c. Some of the most surprising sources were pressed in an oil seed press, used coffee grounds, yield around 5% oil by wt. and another very interesting prospect was using weed seeds from an edible grain/oilseed cleaning plant. The weed seeds had been removed from the edible grains as part of the cleaning process and were otherwise simply a waste product. This is a very ingenuitive use of a product that has already used all of the energy input of producing an edible product but does not divert food from the market like using new oilseed harvest.

Dave's Civic Duty 01-06-2010 05:33 AM

Hi Swede,

I went to a tech college for a weekend bioD seminar a few months back. Great, I'd do it again as a refresher. I've got a processor under way, a variation of an apple seed using a 55 gallon drum & also working on my wash tank.

Great job in exposing your students to this.


Bicycle Bob 01-06-2010 05:44 AM

Very interesting. On the wet coast, the equipment operators start up and shut down on regular or converted bio-diesel, and then run straight, filtered and heated, waste vegetable oil all day.

Dave's Civic Duty 01-06-2010 06:02 AM

Yep, that's called a two tank system. But since I have a Kubota 3 cyl. diesel & a Dodge Cummins it would be more practical for me to just make bioD.

Until this VX landed in my lap, I was looking for a diesel daily driver as well.

A friend of mine runs 2 tank systems in an 81 VW Rabbit & an 84 MB. He loves it.

Smells like fries & no one dies!

Bicycle Bob 01-06-2010 02:13 PM

I told my farming friend about the pressed weed seeds, and he says that they are used for cattle feed here. Too bad people still eat animals- it increases our land use by several times.

Dave's Civic Duty 01-07-2010 01:53 PM

I gave up eating animals over 11 years ago. I hear you on that one. My cholesterol went from borderline to all my number totaling 164 the last time I had it checked at the Cleveland Clinic.

I never really eat that much even as a kid.

Happy New Year,

rmay635703 01-07-2010 07:07 PM

Interesting thread, I believe the best way of making Biodiesel is using a solid catalyst where you add nothing and take nothing out, just electricity.

Anyone remember what the catalyst was? I believe there is one company using it but only on massive installations.

Making that system DIY would remove the chemical concerns out of making Biodiesel.

Dave's Civic Duty 01-07-2010 08:48 PM

Really, I've never read anything on that. I even get the Biodiesel Magazine & never was enlightened on that process.

Very interesting, do you have any links on that?


Christ 01-07-2010 11:50 PM

The only way I know is to replace the glycerine (glycerides) with alcohols (ehtyl or methyl, depending on your skill/preference, mostly)

Bicycle Bob 01-08-2010 12:17 AM

I've heard of the lye and alcohol method, which leaves glycerine behind, and a method with enzymes; never a solid catalyst.

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