Reactor test drive

Last weekend was a big weekend for my biodiesel production project. Friday I pulled a 220 Volt/30 Amp circuit to the reactor in the basement. A friend who is an electrician emailed me instructions for what breaker and wiring to get, after I explained the project. So I cut the power, plugged in the new breaker, pulled the wire and hooked up the reactor. No biggie.

Saturday I filtered 120 Liters (30 Gals) of veggie oil and pumped it into the reactor, 20 Liters at a time, to calibrate the sight tube. That way I now know how much feedstock is in the vessel. Since I turned the water heater upside down, the heating element is a bit higher off the bottom as it would be the other way around. So the minimum fill is about 100 liters (25 Gals) for a batch. I then fired up the heater, and began circulating the oil to warm it up. I ran it for several hours to test it and to calibrate the temperature to just below 140 Deg. F. Once the oil was warm, I noticed a couple of leaks in the plumbing – nothing serious, just a little dripping. I’ll fix that this week.

Sunday I tinkered with my wash tank setup and realized that the stand for the tank is not sturdy enough. I’ll need to improve it – probably with some plywood. Also, the stand pipe leaks, because it’s not glued in yet. I’ll do that once I am happy with the setup.

This is very exciting. I am so close, I can smell my first big batch of homebrew!

To do:

  • Fix plumbing
  • Buy methanol and KOH
  • Fix washtank
  • Drying tank
  • Setup for final filtering
  • Prepare storage

There’s still a bit of work, but it looks like the centerpiece of my homebrew operation is in place now.

Praise the Lard!

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