My first batch of biodiesel

My reactorThis weekend I brewed my first 30-gallon/120 liters batch of biodiesel, using the modified appleseed reactor I built in the basement. I used fryer oil from a local restaurant that titrated at 1.6 with KOH, so it’s pretty decent quality feedstock. Saturday, Manfred came over and we did the titration, mixed the Methoxide and started the process. I had heated the oil to about 120 deg. F, and then I cut off the heater. When I started blending in the Methoxide, the temperature went down below 100 F (that’s as low as the thermometer goes) due to 6 gallons of the cooler fluid. Once all the Methoxide was blended in, and the pump was just blending the reactant, the temperature went back up to almost 120 F, which is great, as the reaction is an exothermic reaction.

I let the pump run for 6 hours, the I cut it off and let the reactant settle for about 20 hours. On Sunday evening I drained the glycerol and the I pumped the biodiesel into the wash tank. The product came out a tad soapy, and I turned up the spray washer too high at first. So when I held a light behind the wash drum I could not see a separation at all, and I thought the stuff had emulsified … pretty quickly, however, the water settled down, and I started draining the soap water out – 15 gallons so far. I could probably start bubble-washing now, but my bubble stone broke, and so I ordered new ones from Utah BD supply.

So I’ll be washing the stuff this week, and then drying it next week, and before long I should be able to feed my Jetta my first homebrew biodiesel.

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