Biodiesel Review published by Utah Biodiesel Supply

February 2009
Welcome To Biodiesel Review!

First Things First:
You're receiving this newsletter because in the past you've purchased something from Utah Biodiesel Supply. If you'd prefer not to receive future emails, just click the unsubscribe link up at the top of this email & you'll be removed from our list.

So What's This All About?
Ever since we started Utah Biodiesel Supply, we've been asked by customers to publish a newsletter and seeing as it's a new year, we figured it was finally about time.

Biodiesel Review will be a fairly regularly newsletter published by Utah Biodiesel Supply and edited by Graydon Blair. We're excited to start bringing you lots of great information on some of the tips & tricks we've learned over the years about Biodiesel as well as provide you with new product information, reviews & commentary on news in the industry, as well as fun customer spotlights.

So with that, welcome to the fun! Grab some popcorn, pull up a chair & get ready for some of the best information on brewing Biodiesel around to help you keep your Biodiesel brewing in top form!
In This Issue
3 Tips For Successful Biodiesel Giveaway!
Check Out Our New Products!
New EPA Diesel Emissions & Biodiesel; It's Not All That Rosy
Free Biodiesel Production Tutorial Videos
Introducing Biodiesel Starter Kits!
3 Tips For Successful Biodiesel

Over the years, we've found that there are 3 key areas that anyone producing Biodiesel on a small scale should always follow to ensure great Biodiesel. If you've ever called in to Utah Biodiesel Supply for help, you've probably heard a few of these. So with that, here's our three tips for ensuring you get great Biodiesel.

Tip #1 - Test For And Remove Water From The Oil Before Reacting
Tip #2 - Perform A 3/27 Conversion Test BEFORE Washing
Tip #3 - Test For Soap Levels In Washed Biodiesel

watertestTip#1 - Test For And Remove Water From The Oil Before Reacting
Judging by the number of phone calls & emails we get on this issue, I'd say that about 90% of the problems people have with making Biodiesel can be traced back to having too much water in the oil. Water is just a royal killer when it comes to Biodiesel reactions. If you have too much, it just causes all sorts of problems.

Here's why...
Water + Oil + Catalyst = Soap (not Biodiesel)
Water + Oil + Methanol = A Big Mess (Again, not Biodiesel)
Water + Oil + Catalyst + Methanol = Soap + some Biodiesel + Glycerin

That pesky H20 just causes havoc like no other. The Methanol & Catalyst used in Biodiesel production like water a lot more than they like oil and they readily bond to the water instead of doing the job you WANT them to do (you know, making Biodiesel). It's like luring kids away from doing their work by using candy. They'll go for the candy over doing real work every time.

So, here's how to deal with it.
Firs, identify how much water you have in your oil feedstock using one of these three methods. Then, use one of our methods described to get rid of as much of it as you can.

Here's how to see if you have water in the oil

Hot Pan Test
The simplest test and most commonly used among Biodiesel enthusiasts is the hot pan test. This test is performed by heating up a pan and then dropping in a sample of the oil you plan on using & watching for bubbles.
Click here to see a video showing how it's done.

Quantitative Water Test
This method requires extremely accurate scales, a notepad, a sample of oil, and a heat source (a microwave works great!) You measure the weight of your sample, then heat the crap out of it (to presumably boil off the water), and then weigh it again. The difference between the weights will tell you how much water is in your oil.
Click here to see a detailed description on how to perform this test

Deluxe Water Test
Deluxe Water Test Kit
This method has become increasingly popular among Biodiesel enthusiasts, commercial Biodiesel producers, and and those running straight vegetable oil conversions. It involves adding a sample of water to a Deluxe Water Test Kit, shaking it, taking a quick reading and converting it into a total water percentage. Quick, simple, and easy.
Click here to see a video of how this test works

If any of these tests indicate water then it's time for water removal. If using the Deluxe Water Test Kit, your goal is to have oil that has less than 0.5% water content in it before producing Biodiesel. That's 5,000 Parts Per Million (PPM).

If you find you have water in your oil, here's how to get it out.

Good Old Heat & Time

Heat and time are somewhat inverses of each other. The more heat you use, the less time it's going to take to remove the water...and, consequently, the less heat you have, the more time it's going to take.

In general, heat your oil to at least 100 deg. F or higher. If you can, take it up past the boiling point of water (212 deg. F) for an extended period of time or until you don't see any more bubbles. A word of caution here, if you're doing this in a 55 gallon drum or larger, be sure to STIR the oil while it's heating. Oil's pretty heavy and it's possible for water to develop a pocket of steam down in the bottom of the tank. If that steam finally makes it's way to the top on its own, it can cause some pretty nasty results (splattering, spewing, shooting fountains of oil, you get the picture), so stirring will help.

If you don't plan on boiling all the water out, be sure you have a method for removing the water that has fallen to the bottom of the vessel (as oil heats up, water will fall to the bottom). Otherwise, once you mix the oil, you're back to where you started.

Bubbling, Fans, & Circulating
Many people have also found success by bubbling air through the oil with a bubbler using an air pump or an air compressor.
Dry Wash TowersDry Wash Towers
Another very effective method is to use a spraying nozzle, circulating pump, and a fan to spray the biodiesel lightly back onto itself. The fan is blown over top of the vessel to create a low air pressure causing any water that evaporates to get sucked up & out of the barrel.
This method is incredibly effective because the moisture evaporates out of the oil fairly quickly.
Click here to see a bubbling setup
Click here to see a drying nozzle
Click here to see a drying setup in action

Interestingly enough, both of these methods will also work for drying Biodiesel after it's been water washed too!

conversiontestTip #2 - Perform A 3/27 Conversion Test BEFORE Washing
This test is extremely simple to do and extremely effective. It works on the principle that fully converted Biodiesel will dissolve in methanol and won't "fall out" of suspension.

Supplies Needed:
You'll need some syringes, a vial, some methanol, and a sample of your finished Biodiesel.
Biodiesel Conversion Test Items

Here's how to do this test:
Add 3 mL of Biodiesel to 10 mL of Methanol
Shake and let it settle for 5 minutes
Look for fall out.
Add 3 ml BiodieselAdd 3 ml BiodieselAdd 3 ml Biodiesel
The methanol and Biodiesel both need to be between 68-72 Deg F for the test to be accurate, but it really is that simple.

If your Biodiesel fails to pass this test, then something didn't go quite right in the reaction. In most cases, you can re-react the fuel by adding 30% of the methanol & catalyst used initially react it and then retest the fuel. There's many reasons why Biodiesel may not have fully reacted, but until you pass this test, we really don't recommend washing it. It's just asking for problems.

We stock a handy kit with everything needed to perform this test
3/27 Biodiesel Conversion TestTo see the kit we offer, which includes
 2 syringes and 3 vials
, click here

For details on how & why it works, click here
For step by step instructions, click here
For a video on performing the test, click here
To read more about the test, click here

We test every batch of Biodiesel we make using this test and view it as one of the necessary tests everyone should be doing every time they make a batch. The information it gives you is so valuable and the test is so easy to do that you really ought to consider adding it to your Biodiesel production regimen.

testingforsoapTip #3 - Test For Soap Levels In Washed Biodiesel
The last test we recommend is to test for soap content. When Biodiesel is produced a fair amount of soap gets produced right along with it, no matter how dry the oil is. It's just part of the process that goes with the territory.

A good Biodiesel production routine will include steps to thoroughly remove the soap from the Biodiesel. This can be through the use of water washing, dry washing, or even evaporating all the methanol out of the fuel and letting it stand for several days to allow the soaps to fall out of suspension.

Regardless of the method you employ, it's important to make sure all of the soap is out before the fuel is used. Below are two simple ways that you can easily test for soap.

"Shake-Em Up" Test
We're not really sure where this test originated, but it's an extremely quick & powerful test that will give you an idea if the bulk amount of soap has been removed from your fuel. It's not a perfect test in that it doesn't indicate small amounts of soap still suspended in the Biodiesel, but it does give you a good idea if you're "getting there" in your soap removal process.

Here's how to do the test:
Fill a glass container half-way full of Biodiesel
Fill the rest with water
Screw the lid on and shake the daylights out of it
Set the jar down and allow it to settle for at least 30 minutes
Shake-Em Up Soap Test
If the water on the bottom is clear, the bulk of the soap has been removed from the Biodiesel. Don't worry about the color or cloudiness of the Biodiesel above the water, that doesn't matter for this test; all we're after here is just clear water on the bottom.

Click here and scroll down for more details on how to perform this test.

We recommend performing the Shake-Em Up Test as a quick "gut check" test to see how your washing is coming along. It does have its faults though, one being that it's somewhat sensitive to temperature and that not all soap is visible with the naked eye (in other words, the water may look crystal clear but there can still be soap in there).

To identify just how much soap really is in your Biodiesel, the test below is what you want to use.

Soap Titration Test
To do this test, you'll need:
100 mL 99% Pure Isopropyl Alcohol
10 mL of Biodiesel to be tested
Bromophenol Blue
0.01 Normal Hydrochloric Acid
Syringes, beaker, and magnetic stirrer
Soap Test Kit

Here's how the test works.
A. Dissolve 10 mL Biodiesel Sample into 100 mL Isopropyl Alcohol
B. Add 10-20 drops of Bromophenol Blue to sample
C. Add Hydrochloric Acid to mixture until it turns yellow
D. Record how much acid you used
E. Calculate the soap levels present using the following formula
(mL Acid Used x 304) = Parts Per Million Soap in Biodiesel Sample
Click here to see our instructional video on how to do this test
If the soap levels are higher than 60 ppm, keep washing!

We sell this kit on our website. Click here to see it.

The corresponding ASTM soap levels are:
For KOH based Biodiesel, soap should not exceed 44 PPM
For NaOH based Biodiesel, soap should not exceed 65 ppm
Click here to read more about these specifications

And there you have it! Our 3 most common tests we recommend when making Biodiesel. There are obviously several more tests you can perform, but we've found that if you can pass all three of these tests, you're bound to get really good Biodiesel.

Additional Resources:
If you'd like to learn more about making Biodiesel, visit these great websites: - Great educational site with lots of information
Collaborative Biodiesel Tutorial - Excellent resource packed with helpful tips
Getting Started Guide - Our Getting Started guide at Utah Biodiesel Supply Giveaway!
Biodiesel Pictures Online
Have you seen
If not, you're missing out!

This free website offers visitors the chance to see what others are doing with Biodiesel.

We've created several sections devoted to all things Biodiesel. From home made production equipment to cool super suckers to customers rigs, there's something for everyone! We even have a special section just for our great customers (yep! that's you!) to post pictures of all the fun & exciting things they're doing with Biodiesel.

The site is 100% free and anyone can join & post! If you're just getting started or an experienced pro, we'd LOVE to see your pictures!

We're Having A Give-Away Contest!
Post a picture between now & the end of February & send us a link to the picture with "Pictures Giveaway" in the subject line & we'll send you your choice of one of our great Biodiesel decals from our decals page.

1. Post any Biodiesel related picture during the month of February 2009
2. Send an email to with "Pictures Giveaway" in the subject line
3. Include a link to the post at Biodiesel Pictures where you uploaded a picture
4. Photos must be your own original work in accordance wit the Biodiesel Pictures Rules
5. Only (1) Decal per person/residence will be given away however you may post as many times as you'd like.
6. Pictures must be related to Biodiesel in some way (ie. your equipment, Biodiesel you've produced, your truck/car/etc running on Biodiese, you get the picture)

Here's some great examples of pictures already posted there:
Mason's Chimney Service cold filtered Biodiesel
Mason Chimney Services cold filtered bio
Mason's Chimney Service owns a BioPro 190 and has been making Biodiesel to power their company trucks. The owner, Ed Ridgway, has taken several pictures of the Biodiesel they've made including this cool shot of cold-filtered Biodiesel.

Biodiesel Gelling in the cold - by Graydon Blair
biodiesel gelling in the cold
Graydon Blair of Utah Biodiesel Supply has shot well over 10,000 pictures related to Biodiesel. Above is one of his latest experiments. Pictures and details are all posted at the Biodiesel Pictures website.

Yep! Bio even runs in Semi's!
Biodiesel And A Semi
This was shot by one of our great customers who runs Bio in his semi.

If you haven't had a chance to visit, stop by today & join in on the fun!
The website is: 
Check Out Our New Products!
 Every winter we work hard putting together new and exciting products for the coming season. This winter is no exception. Here's a preview of some of the cool new products we now have on our site & ready to ship!

Magnetic Stirrers
Ever since we bought our own magnetic stirrer a few years back we've been on the hunt for some inexpensive but high-quality magnetic stirrers. We're proud to say that we now have 4 great magnetic stirrers in our line up.

Check out our newest additions below! We also still offer our Porta-Stirrer
Hanna Black Magnetic StirrerBioMega Heater/Magnetic StirrerHanna Stainless Steel Magnetic Stirrer
Hanna Black Mag Stirrer | BioMega Heated/Stirrer | Hanna Stainless Stirrer

Dry Wash Resin & Towers
We're proud to announce that we now have Dry Wash Kits to dry wash your Biodiesel with including Dry Wash Towers, Dry Wash Kits you can build yourself, and Dry Wash Resin including Purolite and the new Thermax.

Purolite Dry Wash ResinThermax Dry Wash Resin
Purolite Ion Exhange Resin           | Thermax Ion Exhange Resin

Dry Wash Towers   Dry Wash Tower Kit
Dry Wash Towers      | Dry Wash Tower Kit

Soap Testing Kit
If you're getting into Dry Washing, it's important to know what your soap levels in your Biodiesel are before and after it goes through Ion Exchange Resin. This kit will allow you to measure soap levels extremely accurately! We even have an instructional video on how to use it to test for soap!

Soap Test Kit
Soap Test Kit

Biodiesel Starter Kits
These starter kits are perfect for those wanting to learn about Biodiesel from scratch but don't want to drive all over picking up the supplies needed to make their first batch. Each of these kits gives you everything you'd need to to start making small batches of Biodiesel in a handy kit. It's ideal for students, educators, hobbyists, or those that just want to get a feel for how Biodiesel is really made.

They come in three versions:
Basic Biodiesel Starter Kit  Deluxe Biodiesel Starter Kit Ultimated Biodiesel Starter Kit
Basic Starter Kit    | Deluxe Starter Kit     | Ultimate Starter Kit

And even more are coming!
We have several more items being prepared for the site as well including full beaker sets, Erlynmeyer flasks, pipette pumps, and more! Be sure to bookmark our site & visit often to see the newest products.

You can see our full product offering at the main Utah Biodiesel Supply website at

Stop on by!
New EPA Diesel Emissions & Biodiesel;
Not All That Rosy
US EPA logo

In late 2007, the United States EPA diesel emission standards became much more stringent. The standard now includes much lower sulfur levels, lower particulates, lower NOx levels, and a whole host of other regulations that'll make your head spin.

As with any technology, there's bound to be some bumps along the way and unfortunately, Biodiesel is going to be one of them.

Ford, Chrysler, GM, Mercedes, Volkswagen, and a few other diesel manufacturers went to work on creating diesel engines that would be able to meet the new Tier II Bin 5 Standards. In initial testing it was thought that Biodiesel would help these engines to run cleaner (which it did), but unfortunately, because of cost-cutting strategies in implementing the new technology on the engines, all of the manufactures we've listed above are having MAJOR problems with Biodiesel. Read below to find out why.

The Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) a.k.a. Biodiesels Worst Nightmare
In an effort to reduce particulates coming out of the exhaust of diesel engines, engine manufacturers mounted DPF's into the exhaust pipe of the engines. The theory was that these honey-comb looking devices would entrap the diesel exhaust particulates (you know, that black smoke diesel make) and save them up to be burnt off later.

To burn them off, the engine sprays some unburned fuel into the exhaust stream, vaporizes it, sends it down to the DPF where it ignites (because the DPF is already hot from heated exhaust) and burns off the particulates.

Sounds Like A Great Plan, Right? WRONG!
The problem all started when engine manufacturers, in their infinite wisdom, decided to use the same fuel injectors that inject fuel into the engine to inject a squirt of fuel into the exhaust stream.

They do this by squirting fuel into the cylinders shortly after the combustion stroke (called post-injection). The theory is that the already heated cylinder will vaporize the fuel and as the piston comes up from the bottom it'll just push this unburned fuel out of the cylinder and down to the DPF.

In theory, this is a brilliant plan! Saves money designing the engine, the diesel fuel gets vaporized, the DPF gets cleaned & everyones happy!

But What About Biodiesel?

Unfortunately, it doesn't quite work that way with Biodiesel. One of Biodiesels strong points, the fact that it has a much, much higher boiling point than diesel fuel, just bit it in the butt!

The sad truth is that when the fuel gets squirted into that hot cylinder, only a portion of it vaporizes. The rest sticks to the walls of the cylinder like glue. As the piston comes back up, guess where the Biodiesel goes? Past the piston rings & right down into the crankcase oil.

"But I Thought Biodiesel Was GOOD For Engine Oil!"
Well, yes, but too much of a good thing can be bad...and in the case of the crankcase all that Biodiesel starts to add up & raises the oil level. If/when it gets too high, the crank-case starts to slap into the oil causing foam to occur and the next thing you know, the engine can go into hydro-lock. In other words, bad, bad things can start to happen to the moving parts.

So How Bad Is It?
It's pretty bad. In fact, in tests performed by VW using B5 (5% Biodiesel/95% Diesel Fuel) in the fuel, in a matter of a few thousand miles over 40% of the engine oil was contaminated with Biodiesel. In Dodges running B20, engine oil levels increased in as little as 3,000 miles. Throw B100 in the tank and you can see where this is going.

The other problem is that Biodiesel reacts with engine oil additives and causes the oil to wear out faster; potentially causing even MORE problems in the engine.

So Whats The Solution?
1) DPF Delete Kits
If you're lucky enough to live in a state or county where they don't check diesel emissions or they don't climb under the truck & check out your exhaust, you can simply install DPF Delete Kits which are available from many diesel performance shops. These kits include the parts necessary to remove the DPF from the exhaust system and the electronic parts to convince the computer that it's not there anymore. Do this and the "regeneration cycle" never fires (that means the injectors never squirt that unburned fuel after the combustion stroke).

The problem with these kits is that technically they turn your rig into an "off-road use only" vehicle because it's against federal law to mess with your emission system on your vehicle and drive it on a public road. That said, it hasn't stopped hundreds of people from doing it anyway...

2) Change Your Engine Oil Much More Often
If you watch the engine oil levels and ensure that they don't climb too high, then you may be able to get away with using high Biodiesel blends simply by changing out the oil more often (like twice or three times as often as the manufacturer recommends).

That's kind of an expensive way to do it, but, it doesn't violate any federal laws either

3) Don't Buy A Newer Diesel Vehicle.
Stay away from anything about 2007.5 and newer and this problem doesn't exist. Also, CAT figured out that if you install an injector IN THE EXHAUST SYSTEM ITSELF, this isn't an issue (now why all the other manufacturers couldn't have done that is beyond me).

Which Vehicles Are Effected:
Pretty much any diesel engine vehicle from about 2007 forward put out by GM, Ford, Chrysler, Mercedes, Jeep, Volkwagen, and Audi for sale in the United States is effected by this problem.

Where Can You Learn More?
Infopop Biodiesel Forum
This topic is being discussed at length in the popular Infopop Biodiesel Forum where Biodiesel specialists (myself included) are chiming in on what's being done. Click here to see the discussion

Biodiesel Magazine
Biodiesel Magazine also did an excellent article on the DPF's and how they're effecting the use of Biodiesel. Click here to see the discussion

Diesel Power Magazine
Diesel Power magazine recently did an excellent article on installing Diesel Particulate Filters. Unfortunately, the article appears to have been pulled down from their website for reasons unknown to me (probably worried about litegation, but go figure). If you subscribe to Diesel Power Magazine, it's in one of their recent issues (sorry, I couldn't remember which one. It's in their Tech section).

I really hope that the manufacturers get this issue solved; and solved quickly because if they don't, it could spell an end to the use of high blend Biodiesel in newer diesel engine powered vehicles. I'm pretty sure with the new administration in office we'll see something soon as they seem to be extremely positive of Biodiesel and other Biofuels. Should they catch wind of this snafu you can bet their meeting with "The Big 3" isn't going to be pleasant.

If you plan to purchase a newer diesel vehicle and run Biodiesel in it, we encourage you to research the issues as much as possible and to be sure you're aware of any of the limitations of high-blend Biodiesel use in the vehicle you choose.
Free Biodiesel Production Tutorial Videos!
Biodiesel Tutorial Videos

If you've been dying to learn more about Biodiesel but don't care for reading through pages and pages of text, then check out our Biodiesel Tutorial Videos! (Click Here To See Our Videos)

Over 15 videos are now available on everything from the difference between waste vegetable oil and Biodiesel to the chemistry behind the Biodiesel reaction. Our goal in creating these videos was to make it simple to learn about Biodiesel, how it's made, and what it takes to make great Biodiesel!

About 3 months ago we even picked up a new HD Video Camera and have started shooting even more videos in crystal clear, eye-popping HD! Many of our videos are even available for download to your computer so they can be watched off-line.

We've even started our own Utah Biodiesel Supply YouTube Channel dedicated to all things Biodiesel where we're posting additional instructional videos, product demos, and other Biodiesel related content.

Got A Video Idea? Send It In!
We plan on adding even more videos in 2009 and would love suggestions! If you'd like to see something covered, just send us an email and we'll put it on the list! Email us at Be sure to include "Video Idea" in the subject line so we know to watch for it.
Thanks so much for reading through our first issue of Biodiesel Review! If you have a suggestion or topic you'd like us to cover, sent it our way!

Graydon Blair
Utah Biodiesel Supply
Introducing Biodiesel
Starter Kits!
3/27 Biodiesel Conversion Test
If you know someone who would like to learn about Biodiesel but doesn't know where to start or if your looking for a quick kit to teach others about Biodiesel, be sure to check out our new Biodiesel Starter Kits.

Built with the beginner in mind, we've created these kits to be easy to use and easy to get started making Biodiesel with.

From our basic kit to our ultimate starter kit, we have a kit for everyone!

Stop by our site today to check out these great new kits!
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