Making biodiesel has been around for over a hundred years but lost its popularity due to the cheap availability of fossil fuel.
Well that’s all changed now that fossil fuel prices have gone through the roof, biodiesel making is more popular than ever.
The popularity of making biodiesel is the cost. It burns cleaner than fossil fuels. The availability of the major component is, used vegetable oil, and animal fats along with virgin veggie oils. The used vegetable oil or fryer grease is typically free from the restaurants. The other ingredients are methanol and lye which if purchased in bulk is the cheaper way to go. The cost range in making biodiesel could be as low as $.75 – $1.50 a gallon for the lye and methanol needed to make the reaction called Transesterification.
The uses for making biodiesel are plenty. The main reason that it has become popular today is the higher prices of fossil diesel fuel, it can be blended with diesel fuel at any percentage or by itself. No modifications are required, just put it in a tank and go.
Other uses of making biodiesel are blending with home heating oil, used in forced air torpedo heaters, cleaning, lubricant or the squeaky hinges on a door and gas mix for chainsaw or weed eater. Biodiesel does not have good wicking abilities therefore lanterns and radiant kerosene heaters with wicks will not benefit from this. Has a pleasant smell raw and when burned. Run in any diesel engine, tractors, backhoes, dozer, generator and your vehicles.
Drawbacks of making Biodiesel. It is an excellent fuel system cleaner which is a good thing, but on older vehicles and equipment it would be good to have a spare fuel filter once the fuel system is cleaned out. Another problem is some forms of plastic and rubber can be dissolved. If lines do start to swell or leak, replaced with synthetic lines.
Cold weather issues making biodiesel from organic cooking oils and animal fats will gel quicker in colder temperatures than fossil diesel .
Basic process of making biodiesel after obtaining used oil. Filter threw a house screen, de-water by heating and let it settle to the bottom, use the oil from the top and heat to 110-140 degrees, using a Biodiesel Titration Kit , accurately finds out how much water remains and how to adjust the amount of LYE to be used. Dissolve the LYE with methanol, add the methoxide to the hot grease and agitate for the required time. After settling there will be two layers, the top being fuel, the bottom glycerin which will be drain off. Washing, mist water in and work its way to the bottom pulling out more impurities. After the 2nd or 3rd misting add water and air bubbler at the bottom to work more impurities out, settle and drain. Repeat until the washed water is clear.
Drying is exposing the biodiesel to air until it is a clear, see through liquid.
Making biodiesel really does not take much hands on time. The time consuming part is collecting oil. If a processor was built with a timer then it should only take a few hours of hands on time, the rest is mixing, settling, washing and drying. Making a 40 gallon batch can be done in a week with a few minutes of hands on, a night.
Making biodiesel can be a satisfying project, helping with the costs of fuel bills, helping the environment with better emissions and better smelling than fossil fuel. Good luck in making biodiesel endeavors.