Biodiesel Brewing Strong!
2010 has been a great year for brewing Biodiesel thus far! We've seen quite a growth over 2009 in the number of people brewing, continuing to brew, and getting started brewing this great renewable resource!
As fall is coming on, we figured we'd share a few tips on brewing really great Biodiesel! We also have some diesel engine updates (really cool news!), a few new products, and a few other cool things on tap. So sit back, grab something to snack on, it's time for Biodiesel Review!
Making Your Biodiesel Great! - My Recipe|
|-by Graydon Blair, Utah Biodiesel Supply|
Come along as I share my recipe for making your Biodiesel the best that it can be! I'll keep it simple and will give you links out to places where you can learn more about each step.
1) Start With Good Oil
Seems obvious, but if you're using crappy oil, your Biodiesel will be more prone to poor reactions. My definition of crappy oil is oil that has lots of water in it, titrates above about a 9 (with a KOH based titration) and is loaded with junk (food particles, etc).
If you find that your oil fits the description above, it might be time to start looking for new sources. Murphys Machines has a great article on sourcing oil that I highly recommend reading if you're thinking about looking for another source. Click here to check out the article
2) Test For And Remove Any Water
Before making Biodiesel, lower the water content in the oil down to 1500 PPM (0.15% water content) or below. Too much water will neutralize a portion of the catalyst and the methanol will suck it up like crazy too making it more difficult to react with the oil.
While there are many ways to identify if water is present in oil, we're a big fan of our Deluxe Water Test Kit.
Instead of a "Yep! Looks dry!" You'll know just how dry it really is right down to the parts per million.
3) Titrate The Oil Every Time You Brew
Titrate your waste vegetable every time you make Biodiesel. It's such an easy thing to do, takes very little time, and will let you know if there's a problem with a batch of oil. If it's been a while since you've titrated, check out our article on titrating oil.
Also, titrate AFTER you dewater. You'll be amazed to see how much dewatering can actually lower a titration value. Give it a try.
Need a titration kit? We offer three great kits that do the job well.
3) Pre-Treating The Oil To Lower FFA%
If your oil titrates fairly high (9 or above), it's a great candidate for pre-treatment. By lowering the titration level, you'll get less soap and possibly a higher yield. Here's a few ways we recommend for lowing your titration.
A) Glycerin Pre-Treatment
Heat your oil up to about 120-130 deg F, add some glycerin (usually all of the glycerin from the last batch works), stir it for about an hour, let it sit for 5-8 hours, drain off the glycerin, and then retitrate the oil. There isn't really a "right" way to do this one. Just add glycerin to your heated oil, mix it around a bit, and let it settle back out. This process can also reduce water content (the glycerin and excess methanol absorb the water and carry it away). Click here to learn more about pre-treating oil with glycerin (and why it works).
B) De-Water The Oil
If your oil is above 1500 PPM, then its possible that part of that water is suspending free fatty acids in the oil. By removing the water from the oil, free fatty acid levels (indicated by titration value) can potentially drop. In some cases the drop is quite significant (from 12 to 5 or 6).
Dewatering can be done by settling for several days, bubbling the oil with an air bubbler, heating the oil past the boiling point of water (about 212 Deg. F), or my personal favorite, heating the oil while circulating it back onto itself in an open top container with a fan blowing across the top. Here's a great example of what I'm talking about. This method seems to be the most effective and one of the quickest ways to dewater that I've come across short of boiling the oil (which consumes a large amount of energy, and can be dangerous). I recommend dewatering in a metal drum for safety. We carry a metal barrel band heater that people have used with great success for dewatering.
C) Acid Esterification
Determine how much you want to reduce your titration. Figure out how much Sulfuric Acid that will take. Heat the oil up to 120-130 deg. F. Add the correct amount of methanol and sulfuric acid to the oil. Mix anywhere from 6 to 24 hours. Check titration to see if it's lowered. Repeat if necessary. Once it's dropped sufficiently, remove any water and proceed to process as normal. Learn more about this method in these two articles. Article #1 and Article #2.
4) 5% Pre-Wash
Just before you shut down your processor to allow the glycerin to settle out, add water to your processor and continue to mix for another 10-15 minutes. The water absorbs methanol and soap out of the mixture and accelerates how fast the Biodiesel will separate and also allows more soap to settle into the glycerin layer making it much quicker and easier to wash the remaining soap out of the Biodiesel.
To figure out how much water to add, add up the oil and methanol in the tank and times it by 0.05. For Example: 40 gal of oil + 8 gal of methanol = 48 x .05 = 2.4 gallons of water required.
Make absolutely sure you've mixed your Biodiesel long enough before adding the water though. Once you add it, the water will stop the reaction dead in it's tracks. I recommend pulling a small sample of mixed Biodiesel from the processor before shutting down the mixing and letting the glycerin settle out of the sample for a few minutes and doing a quick 3/27 test on it. If it doesn't pass, don't do a 5% prewash, instead, let it mix longer & test again or plan on doing a re-reaction of the mix.
Click here to learn more about the 5% Pre-Wash Method
5) Bubble Washing (Without Water)
I learned about this trick to reduce soap levels prior to washing Biodiesel from Arbor Biofuels Company. It involves bubbling the Biodiesel AFTER you've removed the glycerin but BEFORE you water wash or dry wash the fuel.
Remove the glycerin, then insert a bubbler and bubble the Biodiesel for at least 6-10 hours in an open top container while heating the Biodiesel. It only needs to be heated to about 100 deg. F to work and can even work with less heat but takes longer.
After bubbling 6-10 hours, turn off the bubbler and allow the Biodiesel to sit for 1-2 hours. Come back & drain off any soap that's fallen to the bottom and proceed with washing.
This method works by evaporating off residual methanol in the Biodiesel through aeration. Methanol helps to suspend soap in Biodiesel and when a large amount of it is removed, a large majority of the soap will fall out of the Biodiesel. By removing much of this soap, the Biodiesel may require fewer washes to fully remove the soap to ASTM levels. Because you're evaporating methanol into the air, be sure the area is well ventilated. Click here to learn more about this method
6) Test Every Step Of The Way
My final tip is to test every step of the way. If you fail a test, don't proceed until you have it fixed. ie. if the oil is still wet, dry it. If reacted biodiesel fails a 3/27 test, re-react it. If it fails a soap test, keep washing!
Here's the list of steps I recommend:
- Test oil for water content
- Test oil for free fatty acid level (titration)
- Test reacted Biodiesel for full conversion (3/27 test)
- Test washed Biodiesel for soap content (especially if dry washed)
- Test finished Biodiesel for water content (if water wash is used)
7) Final Filter The Biodiesel
Before putting Biodiesel in a diesel engine, run it through a final filter. Filters are relatively inexpensive and they help to keep the diesel engine fuel filters from getting plugged.
I personally like to use Cim-Tek Bio-Tek Hydroglass filters in the 2 or 10 micron size.
The Bio-Tek means it's Biodiesel compatible. The Hydroglass means that it'll absorb any water left in the fuel. I find that I tend to go through the 2 micron ones quicker than the 10 micron ones.
Check the fuel filter on your rig to see what micron size it is and buy accordingly. Generally, Dodge uses 10 micron, Ford uses 7 Micron, and GM uses 5 Micron fuel filters. I'd much rather plug an $18 filter than a $35 or $40 filter, which is why I pre-filter with the Cim-Tek's.
And that's it! My 7 tips for making great Biodiesel! Follow them religiously and you'll find yourself making great Biodiesel batch after batch. They're also a great set of trouble-shooting steps to use. If you find you're having problems with your fuel, use the tests in step 6 to figure out where the problem is and then use the appropriate tip to remedy the situation.
I share these tips all the time with people that call in with problems with their Biodiesel. Many of them call back later and report the great successes they're having after implementing these great tips. Give them a try today!
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Want to get the latest updates on Biodiesel related products, supplies, special sales and more? Then check out our Facebook page!
Click the link below to see all the fun!
We'll be posting special sales there periodically along with customer pictures, contests, Biodiesel related articles, diesel engine updates, and more!
New Products At Utah Biodiesel Supply|
|We've been busy the past couple months getting new products ready to release. Check out our latest batch below!|
Arbor Biofuels has released a new cellulose fiber based dry wash media! This product is comparable to Eco2Pure but is much cheaper!
Made from hardwood chips & dust, this premium blend is formulated to absorb the maximum amount of soap out of Biodiesel as it's passed through the media. Use it as a direct replacement for Eco2Pure or in tandem with resin media
In testing, Arbor Biofuels Company saw a drop from 1875 PPM of soap down to 45 PPM of soap. That's a drop of over 97%
Available in 35 lb bags or 500 lb pallets
We'd like to introduce you to the Biodiesel based Purple Skeeter Beater Tiki Torch Fuel!
A few years back a Biodieseler in Illinois started toying with the idea of creating Tiki torch fuel from Biodiesel. Over the years he perfected the blend and even added citronella, which is a mosquito repellent, and created what is now known as Purple Skeeter Beater.
This blend also has the advantage of being able to burn much longer than competing torch fuels. In fact, in tests done by the manufacturer, just a single gallon of Purple Skeeter Beater can burn up to 200+ hours in a fuel burning torch!
This special torch fuel has been available in stores and on other websites and literally flies off the shelves! We're pleased and excited to be able to now offer it on our website as well! You'll be pleasantly surprised at the great citronella scent as well as it's great mosquito fighting abilities! Talk about a great way to go green!
If you've ever read up on building a waste oil heater, you've probably heard of a Babington Ball. It's a unique device that allows you to burn waste oil (veggie oil, motor oil, etc) by drizzling it over a metal ball with pressurized air blowing through tiny holes to atomize the fuel.
We've teamed up with Yellow Heat to bring you one of these Babington Ball's for use
in making waste oil heaters! They're manufactured with exact precision
and are based on the original Babington Ball patents from several years
ago. If you've been dabbling with the idea of making your own burner, these are a great tool to learn with and to create a really cool waste oil heater out of.
55 Gal Drum Cones Are Back!
In our last newsletter we introduced you to these really cool 55 Gallon Drum Cones. They were so popular that we quickly sold out of them!
They are now back in stock and available in single or double sets.
Pick Yours Up Today!
Used BioPro Automated
We're pleased to introduce our Used BioPro Classifieds Section
at Biodiesel Pictures
! With well over 600 BioPro's sold, the used market for these incredible Biodiesel processors is great! Most machines are in great shape, have been well maintained, and are ready for a new home.
In most cases, the owners are even willing to help arrange shipping on the machines to your destination but you'll need to pick up the shipping cost. Be sure to learn as much about any BioPro you're looking to purchase to ensure you know what you're getting.
Josh Tickell's FUEL Film Now Online! |
|If you've been around Biodiesel long enough, the name Josh Tickell may be common place. If not, I'll share who this guy is. Around the turn of the century, Josh Tickell released a book called From The Fryer To The Fuel Tank The book introduced untold thousands to Biodiesel across the United States and world. Even I read it cover to cover in under a week!|
From there, Tickell created several groups & foundations (anyone remember The Veggie Van?) and even became ambitious and wanted to do a movie. Initially titled Fields of Fuel, I met up with Tickell in the winter of 2003 at Sundance when he was starting the idea. Well, the idea finally came to fruition and was released as FUEL across the United States. Hulu, an online video site, recently made FUEL available for free on their site and I had a chance to watch this thought provoking film.
If you have a couple of hours, stop by & check out the film. It's actually a pretty good film that happens to have Biodiesel at it's central theme. It runs just under 2 hours.
Diesel Engine Updates|
|2010 Heavy-Duty Truck Shootout|
PickupTrucks.com recently did a massive review on all of the heavy duty pickup trucks available. Included in this awesome review were all of the diesel pickups available from Ford, GM, and Ram (Formerly Dodge). They tested the trucks across all sorts of measures including acceleration, fuel economy, hill climbing, braking, and more!
The test results show that this new crop of 2011 Model Year Trucks are stronger, more capable, quicker, and can haul more than ever before! The Ford and GM trucks even carry factory warranty's for B20 use (which is code for B100 burns fines in these monsters!)
Mahindra Receives EPA Certification
Mahindra's new diesel truck destined for US shores has FINALLY received EPA certification to be sold in the United States. Unfortunately, just before certification occurred, Global Vehicles, the US distributor for Mahindra, sued Mahindra over the long delay. Word on the street is that we should see these trucks by December, but I'm betting if the lawsuit drags on, we won't see these trucks for a long, long time yet. Follow all the drama at Mahindra Planet, a blog dedicated to all things Mahindra.
Diesel Dream Truck - 2009 F-350 With A Cummins
Diesel Power magazine recently featured this sweet ride! A 2009 Ford F-350 sporting a Cummins engine under the hood with a manual tranny putting power to the wheels. All we've got to say is WOW!!!
Looking For An Older Diesel? Look Here!
GoBiodiesel.org created this "every diesel engine ever sold in the United States" section a while back to help folks looking for older diesels find what was available. While it's now somewhat dated (the newest diesel listed is 2002), it still is a great resource for seeing what's out there. They even have it broken down by make & model and even by make, model, and year available.
Burn Bio Longer This Winter With A SpringFlow 250
Winters coming! Is your truck ready? Pick up a SpringFlow 250 this winter and allow your diesel ride to keep burning Bio well into the cold season with the super cool SpringFlow 250 heat exchanger.
Duramax Turns 10!
The mighty GM manufactured Duramax Diesel Engine turns 10 this year! Released in 2000, over 1.2 million of these reliable engines have been built; many of which are still on the road today! Check out some of the cool facts about the Duramax at the news release at PickupTrucks.com Now bring on the baby Duramax! (and the baby Ford diesel powerplant...and a smaller Cummins in a 1500 as well!)
Thanks for being a part of the Biodiesel Review family! We hope you enjoyed this issue.
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