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  #1  
Old 01-02-2002, 08:48 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Richmond, BC Canada
Posts: 426
Biodiesel Fuel development

Over the past while I have experienced "stumbling" problems with my 300D, and have read posts on this forum about the deteriorating quality of diesel fuel. It seems that we are all concerned about this problem, as most contributors to this discussion group use a fuel additive of some sort.
So, I have been pondering this fuel situation, and I wonder why more research and development is not being done with Biodiesel. I have read Fryerpower's posts, amongst other information, and conclude that this is the way of the future. Problem is...the future is here now. We need better fuel now. Where are we at with Biodiesel? Why is more research being done, and why isn't this stuff commercially available yet?

From the posts I have read here, it seems that Biodiesel does not pollute, and is better for our engines. I read a magazine article a few weeks ago about a European company making Biodiesel out of animal carcasses. (I guess there is an upside to Europer's Mad Cow epidemic) Is this lack of research another example of the Fuel Cartel inhibiting research on a product that will erode their market?

Last edited by Ducati; 01-02-2002 at 08:56 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-03-2002, 12:15 PM
mcvinovr
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biodiesel is comercially available in Arizona. some of the school busses and a cement trucking company use it. it's about $2-$2.50 US / gallon. i have not tried it in my 300D yet, since the station that carries it is ~30km from where i live.
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  #3  
Old 01-03-2002, 10:16 PM
Diesel Power
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biodiesel

I make biodiesel myself during the summer months. The main reason for the lack of availability is the cost to produce the product commercially. Those of us who run around getting waste oil for free are able to produce the stuff for our private use very cheap. My average is ~$.65 per gallon. Commercially the refiners are going to have to build a proper processing plant, buy land, pay employees, pay for transport, convince environazies that they aren't building a future superfund site, buy oil as well as the other materials to process, etc. All of this stuff costs, and the result is higher costs vs. pump fuel in the commercial market. They would also have to effect road use taxes.
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  #4  
Old 01-04-2002, 12:53 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Richmond, BC Canada
Posts: 426
How can I make my own Biodiesel?

Is it complex to make biodiesel? Is a sizeable investment in equipment needed? Must one be a petrochemical engineer?
I am fascinated with the idea that it is possible to make our own fuel. What do you add to the vats of fryer grease that you collect? Does the stuff work as well as the usual type of diesel fuel that (almost all of) the rest of us burn in our cars & trucks?
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  #5  
Old 01-04-2002, 03:04 AM
Diesel Power
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biodiesel production (long)

The cost of the "equipment" is directly related to your own resourcefulness. The more "junk" that you are willing to collect for free, the better. I use two 55 gallon drums, and a trolling motor, as well as a cheap liquid pump to transfer between the barrels and eventually to the fuel tank.

As for making the stuff - best to do a search on the web. Homepower magazine had a very detailed article instructing how to make the fuel in their issue #72. You can order back issues from them at their website: http://www.homepower.com The process is kinda fun once you get beyond the ick factor. In general, I like to acquire 40 gallons of used oil. The formula is a 20% by volume of methanol method - designed to minimize or eliminate the need to "wash" the fuel. The article details these processes.

Using the fuel the most immediate change is the odor. Biodiesel smells quite literally like a hot fryer with a hint of whatever was originally cooked in it (typically french fries ). Particlulates drop quite a bit, and what is left is usually grey/white in color instead of black. It is a low emissions fuel in the name of greenhouse gases. My main vehicle (my Dodge truck) that used the stuff had no noticeable effect on driveability and fuel economy.

As for making the stuff, all that is really required is a bit of common sense in dealing with the chemicals. You do make a NASTY caustic material to mix with the oil during the creation process. The end result is two inert products that can be handled safely - the fuel (on top) and a gunky soapy material on the bottom. Care needs to be taken to not get some of the "in between" stuff just above the soapy gunk.

Final note: If you use this in an older diesel, it WILL remove all of the buildup of crap from the tank and fuel lines. Plan on replacing filters a couple of times after starting using the stuff.
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  #6  
Old 01-04-2002, 11:29 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: PA
Posts: 5,440
Diesel Power:

I am really interested in Bio DIesel fuel. I will order the magazine you mentioned but I have few questions:

1. What do you do with the soapy material left on the bottom?

2. Is the trolling motor used to mix the materials together when
they are reacting?

3. Where do you get the used fryer oil, McDonalds or other fast
food type restaurants?

4. Are they eager to get rid of it or do you have beg to get it?

5. Have you ever tried to use the fryer oil straight I mean without
running it thru the chemical process?

6. Do you have to filter the BioDiesel before you use it and if you
do what do you use for a filter?

7. If you start with 10 gallons of used fryer oil, how many gallons
of useable fuel do you get?

8. Is the fuel useable in the winter? If not, what is the minimum
temperature it can be used?

9. What is the viscosity of Bio Diesel, is it more like Petrol Diesel
fuel or fryer oil?



Thanks for any info you can give me.

P E H
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  #7  
Old 01-04-2002, 04:06 PM
rebootit
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I also make bio when it's hot outside. Like Diesel Power I have "found" most of my materials for processing. I use a 40 gallon heavy plastic mixing tank I found at a used restaraunt supply house. I use an old 1/2 inch variable speed drill with a home made mixing shaft, and use an electric charcoal lighter to heat the stuff while mixing. I also use the 20% methanol mix but have found that 15% works just as well MOST of the time. From experience I can tell if I need to add the other 5% as soon as I start the mix. Yield will be almost exactly what you start with minus the amount of methanol. IE, start with 30 gallons of used oil and add 10 gallons of meth you get back 30 gallons of good fuel, 10 gallons of soap. The soap I give to people who make it into bar soap, use it as is to degrease stuff, use some to clean my tank after making a batch, and flush the rest if need be. It is just soap so no big deal. I get my oil from a local Checkers and from a local small seafood place. Both are happy to give it to me, but you have to ask first. It used to be that the waste haulers paid for this stuff but now they charge to haul it away. Oil from Checkers is not heated as much as the stuff from the seafood place and as a result I get a nice golden colored fuel that smells like frech frys when I run it. The seafood oil is dark in color but smells the same when burned. When running bio the car does not have as much diesel clatter, starts faster, but gets a little less mpg. I filter the fuel through a 20 micron filter first, then a 5 micron to the tank. Fuel filters on the car are OEM and last just as long as with dino fuel. You need to replace all rubber fuel lines with OEM rubber as the meth will eat normal rubber. Bio has been used in Germany for 20 years so these cars are made to burn it. Mercedes fuel line will not get soft on you. Cost besides my time is about .65 per gallon. Biggest cost is the methanol at 2.50 a gallon. Usual mix is as follows...

30 gallons waste oil
10 gallons methanol mixed with 30 grams of lye
start mixer, dump in lye/meth mixture
start heater
mix for 1 hour
stop mix and heat
let sit for 8 hours to settle
drain soap from bottom
let sit 24 hours
drain about 2 more ounces of soap
filter to 20 microns
pump from holding tank to car through 5 micron filter

I started with this website

http://www.dancingrabbit.org/biodiesel/flrecipe.html
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  #8  
Old 01-04-2002, 05:44 PM
Diesel Power
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Responses embedded:


Quote:
Originally posted by P.E.Haiges
Diesel Power:

I am really interested in Bio DIesel fuel. I will order the magazine you mentioned but I have few questions:

1. What do you do with the soapy material left on the bottom?

I personally burn the stuff with the rest of my trash. You can also compost the material, or process it further (I don't know how) to have a useable soap.

2. Is the trolling motor used to mix the materials together when
they are reacting?

Yes. I will have the trolling motor already in the barrel and running when I pour the Sodium Methoxide into the oil. I then mix the mixture for one hour.

3. Where do you get the used fryer oil, McDonalds or other fast
food type restaurants?

Correct. The mom and pop places work as well.



4. Are they eager to get rid of it or do you have beg to get it?

I always ask first. Most places do have contracts for oil removal. I have never had a problem acquiring all that I need - yet.

5. Have you ever tried to use the fryer oil straight I mean without
running it thru the chemical process?

No. However, this can be done. This requires installing a second tank that is heated, as well as some minor modifications to the engine. I had plans to do this to a Datsun diesel pickup, but sold that vehicle so that I could buy the 240D.

6. Do you have to filter the BioDiesel before you use it and if you
do what do you use for a filter?

I'm lazy. I typically let the reaction process bring the vast majority of the impurities out of the oil. Really big stuff like french fries and other large food particles, I will dip out with a small hand colander. I then use a cheap inline fuel filter to pump the "finish" product out of the process barrel into the finish barrel. I then filter it a second time with another cheap inline fuel filter when I fill the tank.

7. If you start with 10 gallons of used fryer oil, how many gallons
of useable fuel do you get?

You should get very near the 10 gallons back, unless your oil is excessively dirty, then yield will drop some.

8. Is the fuel useable in the winter? If not, what is the minimum
temperature it can be used?

I'm still playing with this. At current, I do not trust the fuel to stay liquid very much below freezing. Most test batches still cloud some in the refridgerator. You must also either heat the stuff during reaction, or do so during warm temperatures (at least 80 degrees). I intend to get back with the process of testing various fuel additives next summer.

9. What is the viscosity of Bio Diesel, is it more like Petrol Diesel
fuel or fryer oil?

It is just like dino fuel, but much more slippery due to much better lubricity.



Thanks for any info you can give me.

No problemo. Glad to help.

P E H
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  #9  
Old 01-04-2002, 06:46 PM
rebootit
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Wax problems with bio

Even though I live in Florida I don't make the stuff when it's cold (40's and lower) due to a nightmare with waxing last winter. This may have been due to me being cheap and using 15% methanol and not a 20% mixture. Fuel looked fine as I filtered it and ran great for a few days, then all hell broke loose. It got down to about 40 one night and the car started fine, ran 2 blocks and died. When it failed to start right back up I opened the hood and the pre-filter was full of solid white gunk. Had to suck the fuel out of the tank, fill with diesel, and change out all the fuel filters. Ended up burning the remainder bio after it got hot and I was going on a long trip. Not sure if I will try to make any fuel when colder weather is here again.
One other note on getting used oil, all the restaraunts here have contracts with big haulers. Even though they have to pay the hauler to take the oil the haulers own the dumpsters the oil goes into. You are in effect stealing this oil from the hauler. If they catch you it can be a problem. The restaraunt may give permission, but it's not their oil when it's in the dumpster. So learn the pickup days and go a few days before pickup to get the good stuff near the top
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