Saturday, 27 October 2007

1st Big batch!

Today I made a batch in the processor !

I moved 96 litres of Waste oil into the processor, heated to 55C and added the 21.5 litres of Methanol and NaOH. It then circulated for 2 hours and then settled for another hour. I then drained off from the bottom of the tank about 18 litres of dark red liquid (glycerin) until the liquid became a golden yellow/wheat colour.

Here's a sample:

It looks pretty cloudy as there's still a few impurities in there. These will drop out (and be filtered out) once the left over methanol is removed. This is done through evaporation (from heating or naturally to the surrounding air). I heated this sample on the hob and took it to about 70c (around 160F) for 5 mins. Once it had cooled a little I decanted it (there was a distinct puddle of dark "stuff" (liquid and a few lumps) in the bottom) and filtered it through a coffee filter (Google suggests a coffee filter is around 20 microns).
In this shot, you can see the line of the darker liquid and the line at the edge of the bio.

The resulting liquid is much clearer!

I also did a quick test known as the 3 in 27 or 3/27 test. You take 27ml of methanol and add 3ml of the biodiesel (ie the sample). once added, you shake/mix for 5 seconds and then look to see if there is any separation. If the process is incomplete, there will be a "bubble" (a bit like in a spirit level) under the methanol. if there is no bubble, it means the reaction is at or around 96% complete (which is good!). This batch had NO bubble!

Friday, 5 October 2007

Test Batch No2!

On the left is the second batch, about 1 min in. there is a clear line about 1 inch down. above which is golden and clear, below which is cloudy and dark.

The one on the right is the 1st batch, about 18 hours in.

My first test batch

I have made the first test batch of Bio. Its not perfect but there is a layer of glycerin at the bottom and mostly Bio above!

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Nearly there

I have had a few weeks off in August for holidays etc so progress should have been rather slow. Fortunately, the kids also took a week out to visit their Grandmother.... So progress has sped up!
The two tanks are now connected and the filters are in place too (with their own pump).

The main tank has its heating element fitted just above the start of the cone. Its a simple immersion heater with built in thermostat. The two tanks both have a site tube running down th eside to see how full they are. The same hose type is also used to link the tanks to allow them to breath. Lastly, the breather pipe vents to the outside to prevent fumes building up inside the building.

The second tank is for settling the processed mixture. The mixture of Bio and Glycerin and left over Methoxide will be pumped over and left to settle. Once the glycerin has been drained off, the remaining Bio (with some leftover Glycerin and reactants) is then pumped through the filters. They filter at 20, 10 and 5 microns. The last filter is a 1 Micron absolute filter.

In the foreground yo can see the input filter (Blue and white). This is where the first pump sucks in raw oil. If the oil has been used, it will need filtering, hence the 250 micron filter.

I've mounted the controls for the pumps and heater in this panel here: there's one switch each for the two pumps and the heater. The display on the right is a PID. It monitors a temperature and can turn another device on or off depending on the temperature I set.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Its green Jim....

Since the last post I have been painting and making pipes. I have painted the drums in a mid green chemical and rust proof pant by Hammerite. It has the traditional hammered finish but makes the drums look considerable smarter (even though I do say so myself).
I have also been busy forming the pipe work on the main processor tank. The red pipes have had to be cut by hand (hacksaw) and then threaded with a hand ratchet threader. This is very tedious but much cheaper than a powered device. It takes about 35 mins to cut and thread (both ends) of a section of pipe. Fortunately, they all fitted, though I was worried with one joint where it looked like the section would be a tad too short! (dodged a bullet though by tightening some other joints to reduce the last 1/8 inch).

The pipe work is made from black iron pipe as used in (natural) gas systems (and according to the supplier on airport fuel systems too). Its therefore quite heavy! Hence the small trolley jack in the bottom of the picture holding up the now rather off balance processor tank. The biggest weight is the blue pump mounted vertically to the side of the tank. In an ideal world it would have been tight to the tank but the plumbing it connects to at the base was just too long. Most of the parts are off the shelf so I have just had to deal = longer connectors etc.

This image shows the piping from the base of the tank to the base of the pump. Its an important section; it has a valve (ie a tap to empty/seal the tank), a spur for the sight tube (to see how full the tank is), a branch to the pump inlet and a branch with valve to the outside world for draining as needed. This is why its so long. (ooer!)

Once through the pump, the mixture rises vertically and then either goes back into the processor for recirculation (and further processing/mixing) or if the valve (in the above pic) is shut, it diverts into the other tank for settling prior to filtering.
Back into the top:

The next bit in the build is to plumb the settling tank. I've started but as yet I'm not certain about the links between these bits and the rest..... !?!

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

The dums are back.

The drums have been away for welding over the last week or so (the welder was away mid way hence the time it took..) He has welded along the seam and around the edge of the drums to attach the cones to what will become th ebottom of the tanks:
On the top (bottom of the tank) there is a threaded pipe fitting t allowe the pipe work to attach. This too is welded in place.

Lastly, I the welder has attacjed three box sections of steel to the sides of the tanks. Into these go the support legs to raise the tanks off the ground. Once in place the taks stand a little under 6 feet tall.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Link - The Sun, New York - BioDiesel for removal trucks

A large removals firm in New York city is due to pilot BioDiesel on 10% of their trucks (around 50 vehicles). The equivalent saving on CO2 emissions of 45 vehicles per year!

If you want to buy BioDiesel in the UK, check out this map to find your local source.