Batch no. 4

biodiesel in a jarLast week I spent two evenings getting 200 liters of veggie ready for processing. After I filtered the oil, I pumped it into the waterheater and heated it to 120 Deg. F. Then I pumped the warm oil into an empty tank to evaporate the water and to dry the oil. Yesterday, I finally got the batch going – my first 50-gallon (200 liter) batch of biodiesel. When I add the 40 liters/10 gallons of methoxide the reactor is just about full to capacity. The batch is settling now, and this afternoon I’ll pump it out and start washing it.

Last weekend I drained the last 25 gallons of oil from my outside storage tank and I was surprised about how wet this stuff was. That would explain whey the last batch was so soapy. So this time I used only oil that I had stored inside in buckets and I decided to go through the trouble of drying the oil. Now I’ll just have to figure out what to do with the wet oil. Probably I’ll heat it and try to dry it. That’s not great for the energy balance for the fuel, but I’d hate to waste the oil.

Yesterday I also built another wash tank for the biodiesel. I built a sturdy 2-foot-high platform from some 2x4s and some plywood. Then I took a 55-gallon plastic drum, cut out the bottom and set it on the platform upside down with a drain valve at the bottom, made from PVC pipe. Now I should be able to process the entire 50-gallons of biodiesel when the batch is ready to be washed. The previous batch was a 40-gallon batch, and I had to process the biodiesel in two parts, 20 gallons at a time. That was pretty tedious, especially since the batch was so soapy. This batch should be a big improvement.

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