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Old 10-05-2012, 08:33 PM
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Need help making my first batch of Biodiesel!

OK, I picked up a brand new biodiesel possessor from a guy on Craig's list. It has a 220v heater and pump and dry wash tank which I am going to fill with oak planer shavings. I got a good source of WVO where they filter it every night and change it out every week, and filter it out before they pump it back into the 35lb. cubes. So I am gathering up all the other supplies I need and picked up a steel 55 gal. drum to put all the oil into for it to settle out any water. When I picked up the oil it was still warm, but after it sat for a few days it started to cloud up. I pored one cube thru a bed sheet to see just how clean it really is. I don't have any food chunks, but a thick fat sludge on the top of the sheet. My question is should I use all of this sludge as well and melt it down. or just throw it away? Also any hints you can give to make my first batch go easier would be a big help!
Thanks, Von
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:51 AM
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I would not use the sludge.

A few tips....

I only use a kitchen strainer between raw collected oil and reactor tank, but I throw out anything it catches.

Heat the oil alone to 130F. Shut off heat before introducing NaOH/Meth blend. If heat is still on when you do this, you will burn out your heating element.

React for 2 hours, then let settle for 1 hour.

I water-wash for about 5 hours, then let settle another 5 hours, then bubble compressed air through it for about 8 hours.

Your drywash system simplifies the wash/dry process, but I found my 2005 CDI didn't like drywashed BD, so I still water-wash many of my batches.

Good luck
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:04 PM
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Time is your friend

Any part of the process is improved by giving it more time. Settling , processing , draining , water washing etc. I wash three times over the course of 3-4 days. The wash water comes out pretty much crystal clear after the last wash. I have been at this for over 8 yrs now & have learned not to rush it. If the stuff is animal fat or high melting point veg like Palm it will congeal when it cools and stands for a while, I believe that this is referred to as "cold filtering" . If you can find a source of oil that is 100% canola it will make your life easier , a good steady supply is key. Cheers
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:33 AM
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As others have said, time is definitely your friend. I like to let the oil that I collect settle for at least two weeks before using it. The majority of the junk drops to the bottom and you don't have to clean your filters as much. I would not use the sludge that is on top of your sheet. There is a good chance that it contains water and may cause an emulsion to form while you are processing. See if you can find out if your source is using liquid creamy shortening or pure canola oil etc. I would also recommend making some small 1 liter test batches before you use or end up wasting large quantities of expensive chemicals. Journey to forever.org has an excellent tutorial on making test batches.
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