Archive for March, 2009

3 Biodiesel Titrations

March 24, 2009

Once you have your titration solution ready, it’s now time to start doing the titration. Remember on the board we explained how to do it. We’re basically going to take a known amount of the base solution. This is our .1 percent base solution, and I’m gonna pour some of this out into a little cup. It’s important that you never draw any of this with a syringe because it can contaminate this. That’s always why I put a little bit in a little cup. Seal it right back up, and that way I have a vessel for doing it. Now, I also have isopropyl alcohol, this is 91%, and I’m gonna put this in a vessel as well so that I don’t contaminate it either. To do a titration you have a sample of oil that you don’t know the acidity of, and you’re gonna get a syringe and you’re gonna suck up 1 milliliter of oil. These have milliliter markings on the side. These are kind of a handy little set of syringes. They actually say oil, alcohol, and titration solution. If you’d like these I carry them on my site as well at utahbio, but any syringe will do, but I just like it so I don’t mess up my syringes. I’m gonna suck up a milliliter of oil. I usually go a over and then I come back down. I’m gonna move it, I have a bubble on top that I want to get rid of. I’m gonna squirt down till I get to a milliliter of oil. I’ve got a milliliter of oil there. Before I put that into my solution here I’m going to put 10 milliliters of isopropyl alcohol in here. Now these actually have handy measurements on the side, so I can actually do it that way, but if you don’t you can suck up ten milliliters with a syringe, and get rid of your bubble. This is somewhat of a messy process so you want to wear gloves. You’ll notice that I have a little bit of oil and stuff around. There’s just no clean way to do biodiesel. I have yet to meet anyone who has. Buy some kitty litter if you want to make sure things are clean as the oil dries. Kay, so I’m gonna put ten milliliters of isopropyl alcohol into my jar here, and I’m gonna spray a milliliter of oil into this mixture. Now let the camera get up and kinda look at that real close. Now you’ll notice that is not really well mixed, and that’s because oil and water don’t like each other, so we’re gonna have to mix this up here. We’ll stir this here for a second. If you’d like you can heat the mixture a little bit. You don’t want to heat it too much ‘cause you don’t want to boil of your alcohol, but I’ve heard of some people heating the oil in the microwave in a little tiny dish before they use it. Our goal was just to basically get it to be one solution as you see here. To this mixture, we’re now gonna add about 3 or 4 drops of our phenolphalene. Again this is just a PH indicator, it’s nothing more than that. It’s not really important how many drops you need to put in here ‘cause all this is doing is indicating PH. Kay, so I’m gonna mix this up. Now what I’m gonna do is very slowly suck up some titration solution. I’ve got ten milliliters of titration solution in this syringe. I’m using a little stirrer and I’m just gonna start stirring this in. So I started with ten. I’m basically just looking for this to change colors. I don’t know if you can see that real well. Let me see if I can get you a closer view. As I put this in it is literally starting to change color drop by drop. You see that pink that’s occurring? Let’s see if I can do it a little differently here. That pink is my indicator solution. What’s going on is I’ve got a basic solution, I’ve got an unknown amount of acid, and it’s starting to neutralize that acid and taking the pH up over. How you know when you’re done is when that turns pink and stays pink for about 30 seconds. There we’re starting to come into it. There we’re a nice pink. Just a little bit more to be sure, and then we’ll sit and let that go for about 30 seconds. After 30 seconds if it is still that color, then we’re gonna write that number down. I’m gonna let this sit here while we look at our math. We started with ten milliliters, and we’re now at seven, so 8,9,10 that’s three, it took 3 milliliters of our titration solution to neutralize this acid in our oil. You’ll notice we’re staying this nice beautiful pink which is what we’re after there. A lot of times when you’re doing a titration it’s important to do it about three times to make sure that you’ve done it right. So we’re gonna do it, I’m gonna show you how to do it again one more time. ‘cause we kind of slopped around and made a little bit of a mess. You just want to make sure you always redo it, double-check your math. If after three times your number are plus or minus one, that’s your number. Average them out and that’s gonna be your titration number. So we’ll go ahead and pause here for a moment and we’ll get another one set up.

Kay, we’ve done our first titration and we got three so we’re gonna do another one. Again, one milliliter of oil. So I’ve got one milliliter of oil. Set that here. I’m gonna put ten milliliters of alcohol. Get that bubble out of the way. Ten milliliters of isopropyl alcohol into a container. One milliliter of oil. A couple of drops of my titrating solution. Again this is phenolphalene, phenol red, or toomric will work just fine. It also doesn’t matter how much of this I put in because it’s just my indicator solution. Now I’m gonna mix this up and get a really uniform batch of oil, alcohol and the indicator solution, and then using my titration solution, remember known amount of base, unknown amount of acid, in we go. We’ll move these out of the way so we get a little better view here. Slowly I’m just gonna start adding known amounts of base, starting at ten. We’ll swirl it around, it already started to turn a little bit pink which is what we want. There’s some pink and back to yellow, so we need a little bit more. Swirl it around. Oh, it’s getting there. Notice, it’s staying this good, nice pink color. Maybe just a little bit more. Okay here, so I’ve got that beautiful pink color. Phenol red turns sort of a redish color. Tumric turns kind of a pinkish color. This is phenolphalene you can see that it’s somewhat of a pink color, but your goal is just to hit that color and make it stay for about 30 seconds. Again, what that means is I’ve had an unknown amount of acid in the oil, a known amount of base that we add to it until we knock that pH, until we’ve neutralized it. This took, this is sitting at six this time. So we’re really close. We’ll do one more and then we’ll average everything together, then we’ll show you how much you’re gonna need to make a batch.

Kay, we’ll do our third and final titration. Again, we’re gonna do ten milliliters of alcohol. We’ll drop some indicator solution, one milliliter of oil, put it in, mix it up, and then we’re gonna slowly add in our titration solution. We’re gonna watch for the color change. Mix it around, it’s starting to turn. It’s getting there, and we changed. I’m at six, so I know, add a little bit more just to keep it there. So my first one was seven, my second was six, and my third one is about six and a quarter, so I’m gonna call this about six grams, or six milliliters extra. So what our titration would be, or how much we would add to our biodiesel that we’re gonna make, we’re gonna take 7.5 + 4 so about 12 grams we will add per liter of oil. So if we had 100 liters of oil we would add 1,200 grams of catalyst to that into our methanol to make biodiesel. And that’s how you do a titration.

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Biodiesel Titration Kit – What is Needed, Where to Get it

March 24, 2009

To do a titration, we typically will build a titration kit, and what this consists of is everything we need to make a titration, and do one with. To start off with you’re going to need to get some distilled water. The reason you want it to be distilled is because water has 0 pH, it’s neutral in other words with the pH. Kay, so you need some distilled water. You’re going to need some isopropyl alcohol. It’s important that it’s isopropyl and not methyl alcohol. I like to get as pure as I can. This is about 91% isopropyl alcohol, from the little local grocery store. I’m going to need a jar or a jug that’s sealable that can hold a liter of water, because this is what I’m going to make, and put, my titration solution in so that I can reuse it multiple times. It’s important that if you put it in a jar that may be looking like water, that you mark it with a warning so that no one ever drinks out of it because this is poisonous, what we are going to make. You’re also going to need some containers to do your titration in. These are just simple little cups with milliliter markings on the side, if hit your local grocery store you can find some of these as well, usually in the kitchen isle. Then you’re also going to need a container with graduations up to a full liter because this is what we’re going to use to mix our titration solution in. You’re going to need a scale that’s accurate to .01 of a gram. This scale is called a gem scale. We use it jewelry to measure karats and stuff like that. It works quite well as well. But basically any scale will be a digital or a balance scale that can measure in accuracy to .01 of a gram. You’re also going to need some syringes that have milliliter markings on them. You can go into a grocery store over at the pharmacy isle and pick some of these up as well. I have an assortment of syringes for doing several things but these go up to five milliliters, and then I have these little bulbs that allow me to get extremely accurate with how many drops of titration solution is put in to see just where I’m at. You’re also going need a pH indicator. This is phenolphaylene. It is a one percent solution of phenolphaylene, and it is what will indicate pH when I get over about 8.5, 8ish or so. It basically is going to tell us when we’ve neutralized all the acid, so we’ll be using this. I have a little funnel that I like to have around that I can make my solution up with. I also have some safety gloves. It’s important to wear a safety guard when you’re doing this because you are going to be playing with some chemicals, particularly the catalyst either sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide. You’re also going to need some catalyst. In particular this is potassium hydroxide. Whatever you plan on making your biodiesel with, whether it be sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide, that needs to be the same chemical you use when you make up your titration solution. You can do the math to do the conversions, but you just get much more reliable titrations if you use the same chemical. That’s basically what makes up a basic titration kit. Titration kits can be had on the internet from various sources. You can go into Wal-Mart and build one up. I offer one. What you see here is basically my titration kit minus the water and the alcohol. You can go to Utah biodiesel supplies where we have ours. Expect to pay a little bit for shipping because they have to send chemicals in them. Phenolphaylene can also be ordered online from various different places. I carry it as well. You can get it at chemical stores. A good scale you can find on ebay or different things like that, but if you’re looking for a simple, quick to use titration kit, again, various people sell them for biodiesel including myself. So, that’s what you need to do a basic titration.

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Biodiesel Titration Solution – A Must for Bio Titration Kits

March 24, 2009

So know we’re going to do an actual titration. There’s two parts to doing a titration. There’s the first part you only do once and that’s getting your titration solution ready. You can use this titration solution for multiple titrations, however, I recommend that every ninety days you get rid of it and put a new titration solution together, and that’s because the KOH, the sodium hydroxide, the potassium hydroxide tends to oxidize with time, air, and UV rays, so you just need to make sure that you’ve got fresh stuff or you’re going to get false readings. The first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to take and add a liter of distilled water to a container. So there’s a liter. Then I’m going to measure out, with my very accurate scale, one gram of the catalyst I’m going to use when I make biodiesel. My catalyst of choice is potassium hydroxide, so I’m going to balance my scale out, and then I’m going to set my scale to one gram. Notice it’ll fall. Very carefully I’m going to measure out a gram of KOH. You’re going to be amazed at how little one gram is. It’s really important to wear safety gloves while you’re doing this because this stuff really can burn. It’s quite potent stuff. Kay and we’ve got a gram. What we’re going to do is take this gram of our catalyst and we’re going to introduce it to our water. Then we’re going to allow this to dissolve. It will take a little bit of time to dissolve here, sodium hydroxide takes forever to dissolve by the way. It’s one of the reasons I like to use potassium hydroxide, is potassium hydroxide will almost dissolve on contact. Um, once this is dissolved we’re going to be putting it in this jug. So I’m going to let this wait for a minute and we’ll stop for a moment and come back when it’s dissolved.

Kay, we know have fully dissolved catalyst in our liquid here, so we’re going to just pour this right into our jar. This jar, we will use this for our titration solution going forward. Very slowly, I’m getting it in there. Kay we’ve finished putting our stuff in there. I’m going to seal this up, and just to make sure it’s good and mixed in I shake it a little bit. The next thing we’re going to do is do an actual titration. You can put this (the container) away, your funnel away and save it for when you need to remake your titration solution because you’re only going to have to do this once. Um, this is probably when you need to be the most cautious though because you are dealing with chemicals. One thing that is very important is you need to make sure that your chemicals always stay dry. If they don’t, they’ll ruin themselves much like hydrogen peroxide; if you leave the lid off it will destroy itself as well. That’s because oxygen from the air will react with it and neutralize it. If your chemicals are clumpy in any way, shape, or form, these are nice and clean, then you may need to get new potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide. That’s one very important thing to know.

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Biopro 190 | Home Biodiesel Equipment (Part 4)

March 24, 2009

The little brother to the Biopro 380 is the Biopro 190. It was invented by HER energy which is a company out of Chico, California that manufactures these. It is the original unit that they produced. They then moved up to a 380, which can do 100 gallons, then they also have a small one that can do 40 gallons. This unit allows you to make 50 gallons of fuel every 48 hours. It works exactly like the larger unit, only it’s smaller so it would fit perfectly in a garage. It handily doesn’t say biodiesel on it anywhere, so it doesn’t give you away as to what you’re doing in your garage. It just says Biopro 190. It does make wonderful biodiesel. In fact, the fuel made in this machine is so good, when done right, that you can actually pass what are called the ASTM standards for biodiesel, which allows you the opportunity to apply to sell the fuel. We’ve tested it multiple times, we know it’s good. What we’re going to do now is, we actually have made a batch in this machine, and if our camera will pan down near the bottom here, we’ll notice that we have finished fuel. We have drained off the glycerin, from this machine, and so we now have 50 gallons, of washed, dried, reactive, ready to use fuel to put in our vehicles. And so how we’re going to work this is I have a handy hose that attaches to the bottom of this unit, and then we’re going to attach it to a hose up above, and this hose happens to attach to not just any fuel filler pump, but a GPI fuel filler pump, the best in the industry. It pumps massive amounts of fuel, incredibly fast. So I hook this up, and just like having a gas station at my house, I open my valve down at the bottom, pull off my fuel filler pump, I turn it on, and I walk over to a barrel, and I’ve got fuel. Beautiful, golden fuel, ready to use in my vehicle for under a dollar a gallon. This fuel filler pump just chugs like a banshee? Take a look at how beautiful golden color that is. We’re going to fill this barrel and another barrel all the way full. This can actually be put right into a vehicle. The fuel that comes out of these Biopro’s is so incredibly clear that I’m going to take this glass jar, and put a little bit of it in it, and you’ll be amazed at how clear this is. In fact, this looks cleaner than most diesel fuel. I’ll put this in here and keep that going. While I’m fueling I have beautiful, crystal clear fuel that I can now put in diesels. One of the benefits of using this is, I’ve made this fuel for 96 cents a gallon and then I get to turn around and claim the tax credit because I use waste vegetable oil to make it. I’m making’ fuel for 46 cents a gallon, that’s pretty darn cool to me. We’ve now filled up the barrel below it, so we decided to fill the one up above it. Nothing’ like free fuel huh? Again, to do this, we’ve gone out and collected oil, we’ve come back, we’ve filtered it, we’ve put it in the machine, we’ve added some chemicals, we let it rip, we came back and drained off the glycerin. Then we washed it. Then we let it dry, and we have pure gold baby. Biodiesel, the truck, the fuel, everything you need to get down the road.

One of the benefits of the biopro 190, 380 and the 150 is that they automatically wash. In fact, all I have to do to wash a batch is press the wash button. It begins a batch, spraying water in, and it just takes care of it. It also dries it. However, we have no oil in here so I can actually manually override everything so I can make stuff any way I want. And then we’re going to turn on the water so we can show you how great the water actually going’ in is.

So we’ve now just finished draining this fuel, you can hear it kind of screaming here. We now put 50 gallons of biodiesel into these barrels over here, and so we’re now finished. So we now have the complete process. So we’ve now shown you from start to finish how to make fuel; we bring it in, we filter it, we haven’t had to titrate in this setting if you’ve noticed, and that’s because these machines use sulfuric acid, as long as we know that they titrate below 16, which is about 5% free fatty-acid, these machines will handle it. They really don’t care about high free fatty-acid oil. The oil does have to be fairly dry just like we talked about earlier, but if it’s dry oil, and it’s below 5% free fatty-acid, we simply throw it in here. We always have the same amount of chemicals every time, we push the buttons and we let them rip. The cost on these machines is a little bit high, but you’re getting an industrial grade machine for the biopro 190 it runs about 8,395 plus shipping. It’s eight thousand three hundred and ninety five dollars. And then for the biopro 380, which is the hundred gallon unit it runs about 12,995 dollars. If you’re interested in seeing a machine anywhere near you, we have a full network of dealers. You can find those dealers at www dot bioprodealers dot com. We have them all over the United States, and we’re moving into different countries as well. I happen to also be a dealer of Utah biodiesel supply, and if you can’t find one contact me and I can put you in touch with someone who’s bought one who would like to show it off. It’s kind of like a nice new toy, we all like to brag about them. They’re wonderful machines, they’re incredibly sturdy, made of thick stainless steel, industrial grade components throughout them, and they make biodiesel batch after batch after batch. How’s that? Thanks for watching. We hope to see you again.

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Home Biodiesel Maker (Part 3)

March 24, 2009

The next part of the process after we’ve loaded it with catalyst and methanol is to turn the machine on. There’s a switch on the back, you’ll hear a fan kick on, and now here’s the hardest part, you reach out, reset it, and push the start button. In about twenty seconds a light will come on in here. A huge stirring motor is going to start in here and it will begin dumping methanol into the main tank. Here it goes you can hear it kicking on. I’m now going to put some sulfuric acid in the machine to get things helping a little more. And then we leave it alone for 24 hours and we’re going to come back and we’ll have glycerin, drain it off. We’re going to show you what you’ll get after you wash it. The next step is to put sulfuric acid into that machine. It allows us to get better yield? So we’re going to put 380 milliliters of sulfuric acid into there. Simply pour it down, watch my mark, put it in the big machine. It’s incredibly important that you’re wearing safety gloves when you’re dealing with sulfuric acid. That’s one, and two. What I’ve now done is I’ve placed, 380 milliliters of sulfuric acid into here. The process will begin, I’ll put this big lid onto the machine, and I’ll leave it alone for 24 hours. When I get back I’ll have biodiesel, I’ll drain off the glycerin, and we can begin a wash.

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Home Biodiesel Production Part 2

March 24, 2009

Now that we’ve filtered our oil, we’re now going to make a batch of biodiesel. And we want to show you what you do. We now have filtered oil. I have oil in a 55 gallon drum, and I’m going to put oil into this machine. Inside this machine it has marks that tell me the different sizes, and so I will transport this oil in using this big behemoth. Click it on, and then we can start the flow by turning the power on. I’ve already preloaded this machine full of oil, but basically this suck pump would suck the oil up, and put it into this machine. Once the oil is in here then we’re ready to get started with the batch. Remember it takes methanol, and lye, and we use a secret ingredient, we use sulfuric acid and I’ll tell you what that’s for in a minute.

After we’ve loaded our oil into this machine it’s now time to load the chemicals and everything else needed to get it going. Our next is to put methanol into these quarts up here. So I’m going to climb up here, and what we have is; one quart for our methanol, one quart for our methoxide, which is going to be our combination of sodium or potassium hydroxide, we’re going to use potassium hydroxide in this case, and some methanol. I have some handy gauges on the side here that let me know when I get the amount of methanol I’ve needed, into the machine so I’m just going to step down here for a moment, put my methanol in the barrel, and I’m going to chug away, with a pump, then I’ll get methanol into our machine here.

What you see now is a gauge that’s coming up. You’re able to see that we can fill this full of methanol. This tank is going to be used for what we call our estarification process which is where we use sulfuric acid. We’ll show you that in a minute, but for now it’s time to get the methanol into the machine.

The next step that we’re going to do is we’re going to measure out some chemicals. It’s really important that you wear something to protect your face and hands because what we’re about to do is really nasty. Using a scale, we’re going to way out enough catalyst to make our biodiesel with. I have tarred my scale, and what that means is I’ve set it to zero so I know how much I’m putting in. I’m going to bring this up to 1600 grams and I’m going to do it again. So my goal is to put 4800 grams of catalyst into that machine. So with that, we’re going to take it over and put it in.

The next step is to put the catalyst into the machine. This is a very careful process of making sure all the stuff in the pitcher just gets into the machine. It generates lots of dust. It’s kind of gross. It’s basically annoying, but it’s a necessary evil. I have to do this a couple more times and then we’ll be ready to start a batch.

So we’ve got now a certain amount of catalyst in here, and we’re now going to introduce methanol. A chemical reaction is going to occur. I’ll top that off. It’s important that after you’ve put the catalyst in that you seal your catalyst back up. So we’re now going to go over and seal our catalyst before we get started on our next set.

One of the things that we do when we’re done with our catalyst is we seal everything so that we don’t let the catalyst get moist. So, I’ve sealed my catalyst bucket that I’ve got, I’ll get a towel and cover up my scale, to keep it nice and dry. I put this inside here to keep it dry and I cover everything. I don’t want any moisture getting on there. Our next step is to put more methanol in the machine, and we’ll get the batch started.

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Making Biodiesel at Home Part 1

March 24, 2009

Hi! My name is Graydon Blair and on behalf of Parley’s Diesel Performance and Utah Biodiesel Supply, we’re now going to show you how to make a large batch of biodiesel. We’re going to show you how we collect out oil, we’ll talk a little bit about how we filter our oil, how we transfer that oil into a biodiesel processer, how we do the process, and then how we use the fuel. We’re going to talk about various things along the way so let’s get started.

First of all we have a shop, that we go out and collect oil in 55 gallon drums. We put these drums behind restaurants that we’ve contracted with, and they put oil into these drums, and then we bring them back to this shop on the back of a truck. We have a lift-gate on the back of the truck so it makes it really easy to swap them in and out. A lot of people try to collect oil using pumps, they’ll go and they’ll actually pump the oil, and we tried that for a little while, but a lift-gate was just so much easier. They’re about 2,500 to 3,500 dollars but they are the best thing in the world. If you get one be sure you don’t let your uncles, aunts, friends, and everyone else know because soon you’ll be transporting pianos down the street. They’re just a wonderful piece of equipment to have on a truck. However, what we have when we go to collect oil is, we’ll bring a barrel back here, bring it right to about here, and then we’ll get out a filter. And this looks nice and kind of grimy. It’s a four-hundred micron baron filter. We put it over the barrel, and we filter the oil. Once our filtered oil is done we’ll haul it to a production facility that I’ll show you in a moment, and we make the biodiesel.

I want to tell you a little bit about what we use here. Remember in our smaller setting we talked about using methanol, lye, and oil. Well, up here is our methanol. This methanol is a 325 gallon tank. Most of you won’t need anything this large, but we make so much fuel we get this delivered to us. Then we go through it and we take it back to our area. You can get it pretty cheap when you get it this way. This is a 55 gallon drum. This is typically how methanol is purchased. This is one common way. The easiest way to transport it home, it can be put on the back of a pick-up. And then when you get it home you get to transport it into the back of your biodiesel processor.

These are our glycerin barrels, and as we produced our fuel if you’ll remember right we had our byproduct of glycerin. So we just take that glycerin out of the machine and we’ll come over here and we pour this glycerin right into these barrels. The glycerin’s going to contain crude glycerin, some soap, some catalyst, and some methanol. We cap these barrels up, we use our lift-gate, we throw it on the back of the truck, and we haul it over to a waste water treatment plant where they take it off our hands. They add it to their methane digester which produces methane gas they use to run their generators. We get rid of it that way. They don’t charge us for it, we don’t get paid to get it taken off our hands, but it’s a nice way to get rid of it. Once we get the glycerin out of here we then can take the fuel out of here and make biodiesel with it. I’ll show you in a moment how we make the fuel.

After we have our oil filtered, in a drum such as this, we get a sump pump. And all this is is a good old cheap sump pump from Home Depot, Lowe’s, what have you. We’ve mounted a big pipe on it, and a tube, and we use this to fill the machine full of oil. We just turn it on, it works great, we put these drum on dollies so that we can move them over to our equipment, and we’re able to make biodiesel. A moment ago we showed you some methanol. This is a methanol drum right here. This is just a pump that we’ve attached to it so that we can quickly pump methanol into our machine. We’re going to make a batch today so you can see how that works as well. Methanol, oil, and then if he pans over to my side over here, this is lots and lots of catalyst. This particular catalyst contains potassium hydroxide, and we use it to make biodiesel. Remember it takes methanol, oil, and catalyst to make fuel. Behind me is on the right is fuel. This is biodiesel that we have produced in our machines. We’ll show you how that’s done, and this fuel is ready to use in diesel pickups. Again remember it’s being made for about a dollar a gallon, and we are able to save ourselves a lot of money by using what normal people would throw away. Welcome to biodiesel, we’ll show you how to filter, we’ll make a batch, and be on our way.

Once we’ve brought our oil into our warehouse we have to filter it. In order to make biodiesel it’s a really good idea to filter it so you get all your crustys and crunchys out. This is just a 55-gallon drum strainer. It’s a 400 micron. It’s the one that we personally use. It looks kind of gross and uky but we’ve probably put about 3,500 gallons of fuel through this filter. So they’re really durable and they last long. It’s just a poly based filter. You can get them on most sites. Take a look at my site I carry them as well. We’re going to put the filter on, we’re going to take our oil and just simply poor it through it. Now, oil coming from restaurants is really gross, and nasty. As you see there are some crustys and stuff in here, and as you notice it doesn’t like to go through this really quick so we get ourselves a spatula with rounded corners, and we just scrape back and forth to let those crustys go out. So this oil is just going to filter through. Can you hear it filtering down in there? Once it’s filtered we’ll take it into our lab or into our shop and make biodiesel. So we’re going to kind of let this sit here for a while while we go do that. One thing I want to show you though, a lot of times you’re going to get really thicky crap oil and you need to get rid of the crustys. So we cut a car boy open which is what your going to typically get oil in, and we just scrape it into there. So again I’m just moving back and forth real slow. You can see some of those chunks that I’m getting out of that. It’s usually food particles and stuff from the grill, it’s French fries, just all that stuff they put in the oil over at the restaurant that you really don’t want in your fuel. Particularly in your truck, okay? I’m just going to filter that out, and our next step is showing you how we load our machine, full of oil. Then we’re going to make a batch. So we’ll see you in a second.

Our next step is we’ve filtered the oil so now it’s time to make the biodiesel. Remember from before, to make biodiesel you need a heated mixture, so I happen to have sitting next to me one heck of a heated mixture. This is a stainless steel piece of equipment with a giant mixer in it, and a big heater on the bottom. It allows me to make biodiesel very quickly, and in a fairly automated fashion. Now to make biodiesel you don’t need something like this, but we make so much that we like it. Let me tell you just how much we make. You’ve seen the fuel sitting behind me a minute ago. Last year alone we made 6,800 gallons of fuel that we used in a wide variety of diesel pickups. Anything from an 07 Duramax down to a 93 F350 to the stapid large DT466 with an international harvester engine, and we’re running biodiesel in all of those. We have a Ford, Chevy, and a Dodge that we run it in so we’ve got it all across the gammit. We know about what it’s going to do. We’re in Utah here and we are cold outside and in the winters we are starting to blend. We make primarily our biodiesel from canola oil, canola is wonderful cold flow added diesel properties, so when it gets down to about 50 degrees we start blending. Before that we can pretty much handle it. Some of our diesels are a little bit more sensitive, others aren’t. Pretty much if it’s a diesel it will handle biodiesel, and handle it really well. That’s anything from dump trucks, to big earth movers, to farm equipment, to tiny little TIs. You name it if it’s got a diesel engine in it and it’s direct injected or indirect injected chances are it will run on biodiesel. Believe it or not, Rudolph Diesel when he made the biodiesel engine his goal was to have an engine that was ubiquitous with all sorts of oils, and biodiesel just happens to be one of those that will run in it.

Is Making Biodiesel at Home Safe? Home Bio Diesel Production

March 24, 2009


The flammability point of biodiesel. I’ve mentioned that it’s biodegradable that it’s safe to use blah, blah, blah, all these different things, but I want to show you how safe this is. This biodiesel that I’ve made from canola oil, so I’m going to pour a little bit in here, and now it’s time to play with fire. We’re going to come down here. Light up our torch, notice I have my fire extinguisher people. We now have a nice blow torch going. Notice I’ve got some nice biodiesel on the ground here. I want to show you that biodiesel is very, very safe to have around. I can’t light it on fire. This torch is a really hot torch. I’m actually using map gas. Map gas actually has a higher flame temperature. So I’m just trying to light this sucker on fire, and you know what, she’s not going. That’s because biodiesel isn’t actually that flammable. It has a much higher flash point than normal diesel, and I’ve just proven it. And that’s one of the reasons people like biodiesel is because it’s so safe to use. In fact, if this stuff spills on the ground the MSDS and things that it calls for is get a garden hose and wash it off. It’s not going to light up. It’s as safe to have around as vegetable oil. No I have to cavy up that this biodiesel has been cleaned. We have got all the methanol out of it, and we’ll talk a little bit about that later, but I just want to show you that it’s very clean and it just doesn’t burn. That’s that little fun experiment. We want to show you that biodiesel will burn though. When it’s under pressure it does burn quite well. For this experiment I’m just going to start a fire, and I’m going to spray it into it. As you can see it will burn, so when it’s in your diesel and it becomes injected, it will burn beautifully. That’s biodiesel burning.

Visit Parley’s Diesel Performance for all your diesel performance part needs.

The Chemistry of a Biodiesel titration w/ Utah Biodiesel

March 24, 2009

Utah Biodiesel Supply’s, Graydon Blair, lays out the chemistry of what is needed and what happens during a bio diesel titration:

“We’re now going to talk about doing a titration. When you collect waste vegetable oil from a restaurant or from anywhere that they use the oil, the oil is typically going to well used, it’s going to be somewhat acidic, and it’ll be important to find out how acidic it is so that we can neutralize that acid with excess lye. We’re going to talk about how we do it here on the board.

First of all we need to make a known amount of base. In theory what we’re doing is we have an unknown amount of acid, and we can make a known amount of base. We’re then going to take a sample of oil, we’re going to add a pH indicator into it, and the one that we choose to use is called phenolphalene. It’s very popular and the industry views it as the most scientific one. You can actually use phenol red, or tumeric, or pH strips, but the one I like to use is this phenol phaylene. So I’m just going to label it phenol because it’s a really long word, and if you want to know what it is look up on my site and I’ll show you spell it. So, phenol is our pH indicator. Kay so basically what we’re going to do is take some oil, we’re going to add it to some alcohol, and the alcohol is neutral, so the alcohol is just going to be a solvent to put that we can put it in so that we can dilute it. So we’ve got an oil, alcohol and we’re going to put a few drops of our pH indicator in there, and then we’re going to add known amounts of our base solution in there. We’re going to do that in millilitres at a time. What we’re doing, what we’re watching for is this pH indicator to change, or indicate a pH higher than about 8.5. So what we’re going to do is, as we add known amounts of the base, our goal is to figure out how much base solution it’s going to take to neutralize that acid. You remember on a pH scale you’ve got zero to about fifteen, lower is acid higher is base. We’re going to add known amounts of base to an acid until our pH indicator indicates that we’ve neutralized that acid. That known amount that we get is, I don’t know, let’s say about four millilitres. We’re than going to plug into a formula to tell us how much lye we’re going to use per liter of oil. If you remember from before, our formula for making biodiesel was O (oil) + 20% (methanol) + 7.5 g C (catalyst) if we’re using potassium hydroxide. If it’s sodium hydroxide it was 5.5. Well, for a titration we’re going to have something called our base, in other words, our starting amount. That starting is always 7.5 if we’re using potassium hydroxide. So I know it’s going to use 7.5 grams per liter of potassium hydroxide to react brand new oil with 20% methanol into biodiesel, which is what we do when we make a small batch. For titration, I’m going to add a known amount of this base solution until I get it to neutralize, and I measure that, then I add that amount to this base figure. So let’s say that we got 5, so that would equal 12.5 (7.5 + 5 = 12.5) grams per liter. That means that I’m going to add an additional 5 grams of potassium hydroxide to neutralize the acid in that oil, so that I have enough lye left over, or potassium hydroxide to make biodiesel with, and that’s all we’re doing when we do a titration.

Now, to build our known amount of base we’re going to make a .1 percent solution of KOH and distilled water.  So we’re going to add one gram of KOH to one liter of water, and this makes a .1 percent solution, and it’s what we use to titrate with, or to add to our acid. This is our known amount. So with that, let’s go ahead and we’ll make our solution, and we’ll do a titration.”

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