Biodiesel Review published by Utah Biodiesel Supply
Seasons Greetings From Utah Biodiesel Supply!
It's time for another great issue of Biodiesel Review. We've loaded it up with lots of great articles, details on all the cool, new products at Utah Biodiesel Supply, and details on our latest videos.

As this time of year is full of festivities and cheer, we'd like to wish you all a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and a great holiday season! May your oil always titrate low, may it be available in abundance, and may your fuel filters never clog on the way to the festivities!
In This Issue
Using Sulfuric Acid With Biodiesel Production
The Ultimate Biodiesel Workshop
Calculating Your Cost Per Gallon Of Biodiesel
New Products At Utah Biodiesel Supply
Diesel Engine Updates
New Videos At Our YouTube Channel
Using Sulfuric Acid With Biodiesel Production
Sulfuric AcidWe're excited to introduce a guest writer for Biodiesel Review this issue. In this article Norm McFarling, owner of Nebraska BioPro, details the specifics of how to use Sulfuric Acid in the Biodiesel production process. Enjoy!

Sulfuric Acid Brewing - by Norm McFarling
I am sure that most of us who are producing biodiesel have noticed the titration value of our feedstock rising.  The higher price for virgin oils and overall slowdown in the economy has forced restaurants to use their oil as long as possible.

Acid Esterification (AE) of Waste Vegetable Oil"what" and "why".  Don't take any shortcuts until you have tried it a few times, then feel free to experiment with different approaches and let us know what you find.

Remember - SAFETY FIRST AND ALWAYS -  WVO makes a mess.  Sulfuric Acid can hurt you.  A lot.  Use a good pair of chemical gloves and goggles or a face shield when handing caustic chemicals.

This process turns the FFA into water and Biodiesel.  We need to start out with bone dry WVO if possible. Heat and stir the WVO to drive off the suspended water.  Heating the oil and settling it will get the free water to drop to the bottom, it will not affect the suspended water.  The Hot Pan Test (HPT) is not adequate for our purposes.  You will need to do a vapor test with a mirrored glass or use a Sandy Brae (or similar) water test kit.  Water will rob the acid, so it must go.

Titrate your oil.  You need to know the acid number, which is our starting point.  Almost any oil is a candidate for AE, but I usually go right to base processing with anything that titrates at 4 or less using a KOH based titration solution.

Keep a log of your processes for comparison purposes when you decide to strike out and experiment, or when you need to figure out what happened.

Once you have that titration (T) value, you apply a simple formula to arrive at the amount of sulfuric needed.  Take T and subtract the desired end point, I use 3, then take that number times 0.15.  That is the number of milliliters (ml) of sulfuric acid to use per Liter (L) of WVO.

Your oil titrates at 9.  Subtracting the end point of 3 desired and you have 6.  Take that times 0.15 gives you 0.9 ml per L.  If you are using 50 gallons (190 L) of WVO, you would use 171 ml of sulfuric acid.  I prefer the end point of 3, some go lower to 1.50 or 2.  I tell you this because I realize that you are not going to get 171 ml of sulfuric acid in the batch using a plastic beaker that is graduated in 20 ml stages.  So lets back up a bit and put the desired end point at 1.5.  Apply the formula and you would use 1.125 ml per L.  A 190 L batch would call for 213.75 ml of sulfuric acid.  So considering the range, if you manage to get between 170 and 210 ml of acid into the batch, you will get results.  Here is where the keeping of a log will prove invaluable to enable you to verify, repeat or improve your results.

OK, we know how much acid is required, now what?  Load the processor with DRY WVO and heat it to 130 to 135 degrees F.  When the oil is ready, add 60% of the methanol you normally use for your normal base process to the oil and slowly pour in the measured amount of sulfuric acid while circulating.  Continue mixing for a half hour, then shut down the stirring/mixing but maintain the heat if possible.  Heat is very important to this process.

SAFETY NOTE - DO NOT premix the sulfuric and methanol as you will witness a very exothermic reaction.  That means high heat generated causing boiling methanol and sulfuric to be spraying all over.  Add the methanol to the oil and then add the sulfuric while circulating.

Let the WVO set for 24 hours with the heat on and the circulation off so the acid can esterify the oil.  Ideally you would want to have a sight glass in the bottom of your reactor so you can see if there is water to be drained off.  Generally accepted practice is that with oil titrating at 14 or more there is adequate water generated to settle out, and it can and should be drained.  It does not hurt anything to drain a cup or so to see if there is water.  If no water is present, it can be added back in.  After draining the water (or not) circulate the oil for a few minutes to mix it and draw a sample.  Titrate it to get the acid value.

If you have dropped the titration to an acceptable level, proceed to base processing by mixing your methoxide with the balance of the methanol (40%) and the necessary KOH or NaOH. The amount of catalyst used will be based on your new titration value. Stir for an hour and do a 27/3 test to be sure you have completed the reaction.  Doing the 5% prewash is also acceptable however, once you do, the reaction will stop so be sure your conversion is where you want it to be.

If you have not achieved adequate reduction in FFA's, you had something interfere with the AE process.  Wet oil, caustic or glycerin left over from a previous batch, weak sulfuric, wet or old methanol, and the list goes on.  The first thing I do is let it set for a few more hours.  If it stops dropping you can do a second AE.  Be very careful not to use too much sulfuric as it can drive the titration value high and you will find it almost impossible to get it back down.

Three additional points I will note as well. 
1.  Never let the oil cool off once you have introduced the sulfuric, keep it up to temp until the base process is completed. 
2.  When you are done with AE and going to start base processing remember to use the total gallons of oil / methanol mixture when figuring your methoxide calculations.  Do not use just the starting WVO gallons because you will be short the catalyst needed. 
3.  Enjoy your success, the next batch of oil may and probably will react differently.

Happy Homebrewing.

Special Note:
Thanks to the many and diverse personalities who frequent the Infopop Biodiesel forum for contributing their wisdom and experimentation to further the AE cause.  Dave Kenny documented his findings and originated the formulation in what became known as the dkenny method a couple years ago.  BioTom and countless others refined the formula and procedures to the point we are at today.  Research and experimentation goes on.

Please feel free to contact the author at with any questions or comments.  I hope to have a website up soon with more in depth information on the process.

Additional Resources:
Biodiesel Community Acid/Base Method - by dKenny

Biodiesel Infopop Acid Esterification Forum

10% Off Sulfuric Acid For A Limited Time

Interested in trying Sulfuric Acid in your Biodiesel Production? We've arranged with Nebraska BioPro to bring you a very special offer only available through our newsletter. From Dec. 16th, 2009 through December 22nd, 2009, we're offering 10% off all of our Sulfuric Acid. To get the reduced price, visit this special link to the discounted sulfuric acid page below.
Click Here To See The Special Discount On Sulfuric Acid
The Ultimate Biodiesel Workshop
Springboard Biodiesel WorkshopWe're excited to announce a one of a kind workshop! Springboard Biodiesel, manufacturer of the industry leading BioPro line of Biodiesel processors, will be hosting a two day workshop in Chico, California.

The workshop will be March 25th & 26th, 2010 and will include a wide range of mini workshops and activities.

Here's a short list of some of the great topics on the agenda:
  • Overview Of Feedstock characteristics
  • Ethanol vs. Methanol 
  • Tax Credits available to small-scale producers
  • Oxidation stabilizers | Finished fuel testing
  • Explanation of ASTM-D6751 standard
  • How to sell your ASTM-grade processed biodiesel
  • Tour of the factory
  • and much, much more!
BioPro Success StoriesOn the first night of the workshop, a tour of the famed Sierra Nevada Brewing Company will be given (where they use a BioPro 190 to make Biodiesel from their waste kitchen grease) and will be followed by a dinner at the famed restaurant on site at the brewing facility (their burgers are incredible!)

If you've ever wanted to attend a great hands-on workshop and learn from some of the professionals out there, this is a great one to plan for! I've visited the factory myself multiple times and I always come away learning something new.

To learn more about this exciting workshop, visit Springboard Biodiesel's informational page on the web by clicking here
Calculating Your Cost Per Gallon Of Biodiesel
One question people often ask us is how much a typical gallon of home brewed Biodiesel costs. It's actually a fairly simple calculation to do as long as you know the costs of your time and materials.

First, let's identify the costs you'll need to track and then we'll go into a really slick way of calculating it all together with a cool spreadsheet we made a few years back.

Input Costs:
Methanol - Identify your cost per gallon
Catalyst - Identify how much per bag and per gram it costs you
Sulfuric Acid - If you use sulfuric, figure out your cost per milliliter
Electricity -
Identify how many watts of electricity per batch your process consumes. Remember to track both the processor electricity and the washing electricity consumed. You can pick up a watt meter from a local hardware store or even online through Harbor Freight. Next, look at your utility bill and identify how much you're paying per kilowatt.
- Identify how many gallons you go through per batch then look at your utility bill and identify how much water costs you per gallon. It's usually extremely small.
Batch Size - Identify what your average batch size is in gallons
Usage Fee - If charged to use the equipment, identify the cost
Labor - Identify how many minutes of your time each batch requires
Rent - If you rent the building, identify how much your rent is per day

With these numbers in hand, you're ready to calculate your cost per batch and cost per gallon.

The Calculation:
We created a slick, little Excel spreadsheet that will let you enter all of these values and it'll calculate the cost per gallon for you.

Click here to see an example of one all filled out.
Biodiesel Pictures Online

The spreadsheet can also help you calculate your cost savings per batch of Biodiesel versus the cost of diesel fuel. You can even add in the cost of all your equipment and identify how many batches and gallons of Biodiesel are required to reach your ROI (Return On Investment) made.

Click Here To Download the Excel Spreadsheet and get started!
(Spreadsheet was created in Microsoft Excel 2000)

We've been using this spreadsheet for years as a way to track our costs and enjoy seeing just how much money we've been able to save by making our own Biodiesel.

Dry Washing costs aren't built into this spreadsheet, but are fairly easy to add. Just identify what your cost per gallon is with the dry washing technology you use runs and add it into the spreadsheet in the water section or insert a new row.

Things We've Noticed:
Methanol costs impact the cost per gallon quite a bit. Electricity is nearly negligible as is water costs. While KOH is usually higher priced than NaOH, the cost per gallon increase of one over the other is very small at the cost per gallon amount. While most people figure their time is free, it's interesting to identify how much time is being consumed to make a batch and then put a value to that time. Kind of along the line of "whats your time worth to you".

So, there you have it. A nice, simple way to calculate cost per gallon plus a few more tricks too! We'd love to hear what your cost per gallon is running. We find that we average between $0.75/gal up to $1.25/gallon depending on what our methanol costs are.
New Products At Utah Biodiesel Supply
New Products!We've added more products to our site than ever before! Everything from a new centrifuge for oil filtering to exciting new publications on going green, making soap, and even a classic publication on the history of Biodiesel from Greg Pahl. Be sure to check out all these exciting new products and watch for even more great products coming soon!

Raw Power Centrifuges For Filtering Waste Vegetable Oil
Raw Power CentrifugeThis exciting new product allows you to filter vegetable oil in a continuous fashion down to extremely fine micron ratings. When set up right, you can filter clear down to 1 micron with a fair amount of ease.

With options such as a variable speed motor that can spin clear up to 6,000 rpms and an inline heater, the chore of filtering oil can quickly become easy work. We've created a great informational page on these new centrifuges complete with videos, photo galleries, tutorials, and more! Visit the page by clicking here!

SpringFlow 250 Tube & Shell Heat Exchanger
SpringFlow 250 Tube & Shell Heat ExchangerSpringboard Biodiesel just recently released a new product called the SpringFlow 250. It's a heat exchanger that can be installed in vehicles to help reduce the gelling of Biodiesel during driving. It connects to the coolant system and to the fuel lines and warms the fuel up to 50 deg. F hotter than the incoming fuel stream. It's made of 304 stainless steel and can easily be installed under the hood of most diesel vehicles. Visit our SpringFlow 250 page to learn more!

Biodiesel Oxidation Stabilizer Additive
Biodiesel Oxidative StabilizerSpringboard Biodiesel also released a new oxidative stabilizer fuel additive for Biodiesel that helps Biodiesel resist oxidation. In testing they found that adding as little as 100 ppm (about 38 mL to 50 gal of Biodiesel) had a significant effect on improving Biodiesels oxidative stability. This means in some cases longer shelf life for Biodiesel and in other cases can help those producing and selling Biodiesel made from waste vegetable oil to meet the ASTM standard for oxidative stability. Be sure to stop by our site and check out this great new fuel additive! Click here to read more.

Frankincense & Myrrh Soap Bars
Frankincense & Myrrh BarsEvery year at this time our soap vendor produces a a special fragrance for Christmas time of Frankincense & Myrrh. They smell incredible and allow you to bring a unique part of the Christmas story to your Holiday celebrations. They're available in single and multi pack bars. Check out these great soap bars today!

Waste Oil Boiler Plans
Over th
Murphys Machines Waste Oil Fired Boilere summer Murphy's Machines has been hard at work designing a new product called a waste oil heater boiler. The unit starts by itself, runs completely automatically, and can heat water up to 180 deg. F with little trouble.

It was designed from the start to be built outside to handle the harsh elements and it works extremely well! With all of the testing out of the way, they've now released a new set of plans to build one of these incredible boilers! With a set of plans like these in hand and a little do-it-your-self know how and elbow grease, you'll be able to construct your own high output boiler that can be fed all sorts of oils to keep it running. Be sure to visit our page on this exciting new boiler to learn how you can build one yourself!

Multi Packs Of Syringes
Biodiesel Pictures OnlineWe are proud to announce our full syringe sets. In sizes as large as 30 mL clear down to tiny disposable pipettes, you'll find just the size you need in handy bulk packs that are ready to use when you are! From titrations to 3/27 tests to soap testing, these great syringes offer the flexibility needed for just about every test you might need to perform.

They're available in  4 different packages. A 10 pack of 12 mL syringes, a 5 pack of 30 mL syringes, a Deluxe Syringe Pack with a variety of syringes, and an Ultimate Syringe Pack that contains all the syringes in one big package.
Learn More Here

Deluxe & Ultimate Methanol Purity Test Kits
We've had several requests from customers for glass hydrometer testing jars. We're pleased to announce that we now have these available in two newly released methanol testing kits.
Ultimate Methanol Test Kit Deluxe Methanol Test Kit Ultimate Biodiesel Test Kit Deluxe Biodiesel Test Kit
Pictured above is our new Deluxe & Ultimate Methanol Test Kits. The deluxe kit includes an upgraded 500 mL glass hydrometer testing jar and an armored thermometer. Our ultimate kit adds a snazzy lab grade marble base, connecting rod and clamp. This allows for extremely accurate measurements of the temperature of the methanol and an easy to use stand for leveling the hydrometer glass on. It can also be used for several other purposes such as titrations, soap testing, mini batches and more! Click Here To Learn More

Raw Power Monster Gear Pump For Oil Transfer
Looking for a way to transfer large volumes of oil quickly and conveniently? Well, then check out our new Monster Oil Pump!
Raw Power Monster Gear Pump
This pump can pump oil up to 25 Gallons Per Minute through it's massive gear driven pump head. It's our newest edition to our great pump selection and we're extremely impressed by how well it performs! If you have a chance, stop by our site and check out the amazing videos of this amazing pump in action! It easily pumped 250 gallons of wvo in 10 minutes flat and then pumped 36 Deg. F oil like it was water!
Several Biodiesel & Soap Making Books Now Available!
Multiple Biodiesel & Soap Making Book TitlesWe've recently added several more titles to our books section at our website! Included are new titles on getting started making Biodiesel, the great classic Biodiesel book on the history of Biodiesel from Greg Pahl, an exciting hands on guide for using renewable energies, and several new soap making titles.

If you haven't visited our books section lately, stop by & check out all the exciting new titles available!
Biodiesel Engine Compatibility Updates
In our last newsletter we announced that Ford and GM have released notices stating that they'll begin extending the warranty on their engines for up to B20 (20% Biodiesel) in their diesel engines.

So far Chrysler hasn't made any press releases on B20 compatibility use in their Cummins engines for the general public.

In an FAQ published by Cummins, they indicate that..."Cummins approves the use of up to B20 in the Dodge Ram trucks for municipal, government, and commercial fleets only."

So, for now, if you want to buy new vehicles to run high blends of Biodiesel in (if you can call B20 a "high blend"), your choices are still Ford and General Motors. Biodiesel Magazine recently published an article indicating that the Fords that will be B20 Compliant may not be available until the 2011 model year though.

We do have a new diesel engine vehicle coming to the US from Indian auto maker Mahindra. These trucks will be about the size of an older Toyota Tacoma or Isuzu P'up from the 80's & 90's. They'll be available as a standard or quad cab and both will come with four wheel drive and a six speed automatic transmission. They're reported to get over 30 miles per gallon as well. You can check out all of the specifications on the truck here:

No word as to whether they'll be able to handle Biodiesel or not, but we'll keep you posted if we hear anything. To date, VW and Mercedes still are only claiming up to 5% Biodiesel compatibility.  Watch this space for more updates as we learn about them.
New Videos At Our YouTube Channel
We've release 4 new videos since our last newsletter at our YouTube channel. Here's the details on the fun!

More Centrifuge Videos!

Raw Power Centrifuge Tutorial

Raw Power Centrifuge TutorialThis video is a great tutorial video where we show how centrifuges work, why they filter oil so well, and how varying the speed of the rotor can affect the filtering process. We've used colored water to clearly illustrate where the liquid goes as it filters. Click here to see the video

Raw Power Centrifuge Filtering Oil
Raw Power Centrifuge DemonstrationIn our final centrifuge video, we demonstrate how the centrifuge filters waste vegetable oil. We cover the basic components of the centrifuge and then let it rip! We fed it some really nasty McDonalds oil and found that it filtered the oil extremely well. Click here to see the video

Soap Reviews!
We've recently caught the soap making bug and are really excited about the possibility of turning all the glycerin we make in our Biodiesel production into soap. Over the last few months we've received several samples of soap people have made from their Biodiesel glycerin to test and share feedback on. Since we've accumulated so much, we figured it'd be fun to start producing some videos about some of the great samples we've received.

Wash Tyme Orchard Harvest Bar Soap
Wash Tyme Handmade Bar SoapOur first video in this series of soap reviews was done on a really cool bar of soap called Orchard Harvest with Shea Butter that came from Wash Tyme Handmade Soap in Pennsylvania. We loved the bar and how well it felt on our skin! Click here to see our full review Check out the video here

Wash Tyme Essential Oil of Cedar Liquid Soap
Wash Tyme Handmade Liquid SoapIn our second video, we reviewed the Wash Tyme Handmade Soap Essential Oil Of Cedar Liquid Soap. We compared it to a local store bought antibacterial soap and found the Wash Tyme soap to be far superior in several ways. See the full review here

Thanks for spending the time to read our newsletter this month! We hope you've enjoyed it and welcome your feedback.

Have a great Holiday Season, a Happy New Year, and many successful batches of Biodiesel!

See you next year & Happy Brewing!

Graydon Blair
Utah Biodiesel Supply
Visit Us
On The Web!

Utah Biodiesel Supply

We have the largest selection of Biodiesel equipment, supplies, promotional items, tutorials, and videos available anywhere on the web!

Stop by today and see all the exciting things we have to offer!
Visit Us Today!
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List