Biodiesel all the way (2)

After the panel discussion about biodiesel on Friday, I returned to CCCC in Pittsboro on Saturday morning for girl Mark’s biodiesel 101 class. The class was packed and Mark commented on how great the interest in biodiesel is in NC compared to other parts of the country. In the class we had a good cross-section of biodieselers from around the state: truckers, farm workers, students and engineer-types. Some were just biodiesel hobbyists who want to make a little biodiesel for their VW or Mercedes and some were business owners, who want to reduce operation cost for their diesel equipment by making their own fuel.

The class was great. Mark quickly established her authority in all things biodiesel and diesel technology by covering all the biodiesel basics and answering many very specific questions on Saturday morning. The class was a regular crash course in biodiesel making – no-frills and all nuts-and-bolts, mono-and-diglycerides, dewatering-and-titration. We spent some time in the classroom, more time in the lab, and on Sunday we took a field trip to the Piedmont Biofuels farm. We got to see their setup – the 500 gallon, double-jacketed, water heated mothership. Finally we spent several hours in the auto shop at CCCC and put together four appleseed reactors.

The only aspect of the class that was somewhat regrettable was the amount of time Mark had to take to debunk bad information about biodiesel making. Especially the bogus processes from took up quite a bit of time. This is a popular website, but much of the information on making biodiesel is total crap. We had one example in class where one of the guys had tried their 2-phase process and produced a dark, blotchy gue. Mark was able to explain why this does not work, and how their faulty biodiesel recipes then lead to bad conclusions about washing and testing.

Many biodieselers have pointed out that the information on the site is bad, but the guy who runs it refuses to correct the information. That’s why girl Mark and other biodiesel experts have created the site where all the articles are peer-reviewed and publicly discussed in forums.

After the class I went with Roey from Cape Fear Biofuels back to the coop and we worked on the simple, ingenious peanut sheller he’s trying to promote. He poured the concrete Saturday, and on Sunday night we removed it from the fiberglass forms. Now we have to find some time to put it together.

Driving home the 50 miles I had some time to reflect on a busy, fun weekend. After the discussions about chemistry, politics, activism and all the tinkering I felt, and continue to feel, fired up about spreading the word of the good juice. I plan to try to get our coop organized and take it to the next level. And I very badly want to get my own reactor going. I know what to do – it’s time to get busy!

4 Responses to “Biodiesel all the way (2)”

  1. Biodiesel Tips Says:

    Great to see biodieselers getting together and spreading the knowledge !

    Seems like NC is biodiesel capital.

    Keep on biodiesling !

  2. Jeffrey Munday Says:

    I’m interested in getting together with other biodiesel makers and learn how to make my own. I would like to be an active member in the Biodiesel comunity. I’ve found many places to buy a ready to us system, however I would rather build the system myself. If your group has room for one more wantabe biomaker. Please send me an E Mail. I live in Lake Elsinore, California
    Jeff Munday

  3. Biodiesel Says:

    Very cool definately some good points. I build biodiesel processors which turn waste vegetable oil into biodiesel. It is really amazing how simple the process is, as well as saving the customer $2-3 per gallon at the pumps. Algae biodiesel looks even more promising. As the other poster said, we just need to keep moving in the right direction.

  4. Hanna Says:

    we should patronize the use of Biodiesel because it is a renewable source and fossil fuels would soon be depleted. `