Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Biodiesel

1

Table Of Contents
Introduction ..................................................................................................................... 5 Chapter 1 ........................................................................................................................ 6 The Cost of Using Biodiesel ......................................................................................... 6 Cost Comparison of Biodiesel vs. Petroleum Diesel ................................................. 6 Commercial Biodiesel ............................................................................................ 6 Making Your Own .................................................................................................. 7 The Cheapest Biodiesel Source Material.................................................................. 7 The Cheapest Way to Make Biodiesel ...................................................................... 8 Production Plant Setup Costs ................................................................................... 9 The Future of Biodiesel........................................................................................... 10 Chapter 2 ...................................................................................................................... 12 Biodiesel Use and You ............................................................................................... 12 Test Your Biodiesel Before Use! ............................................................................. 12 The Wash Test .................................................................................................... 12 Does Your Engine Need Modifications to Run Biodiesel? ...................................... 13 Concerns and Criteria.......................................................................................... 13 A-Blending We Go! ................................................................................................. 14 Side Effects of Biodiesel Use .................................................................................. 15 Engine-Related Questions ...................................................................................... 16 Engine Performance ............................................................................................ 16 Pollution and Environmental Concerns ................................................................... 17 Emissions Pollution ............................................................................................. 17 Long-Term Impact of Biodiesel on the Environment ............................................... 17 A Bright Spot ....................................................................................................... 18
2

Chapter 3 ...................................................................................................................... 19 Production Methods Defined ...................................................................................... 19 The Simplest Method of Biodiesel Production ........................................................ 19 Safe, Effective and Practical Biodiesel Production ................................................. 20 Step 1 – Choose your Location ........................................................................... 20 Step 2 – Choose Your Safety Equipment ............................................................ 21 Step 3 – Choosing Your Processor ..................................................................... 22 Step 4 – Chemicals Necessary for Production .................................................... 24 Step 5 – Your Heat Source.................................................................................. 24 Step 6 – Making Methoxide ................................................................................. 25 Step 7 – Agitation and Settling ............................................................................ 26 Step 8 – Washing Your Biodiesel ........................................................................ 26 Step 9 – Drying Your Fuel ................................................................................... 27 Step 10 – Storing Your Fuel ................................................................................ 28 Chapter 4 ...................................................................................................................... 29 Large Scale and Commercial Production ................................................................... 29 The History of Large Scale Biodiesel Production .................................................... 30 Biodiesel Resources, Equipment Manufacturers and More .................................... 30 US Biodiesel Kits and Supplies ........................................................................... 30 Biodiesel Retailers (and Oil Resellers) ................................................................ 31 Large-Scale Production Equipment ..................................................................... 31 Chapter 5 ...................................................................................................................... 33 Usable Plants, Recipes and More .............................................................................. 33 Usable Plants.......................................................................................................... 33
3

A Note on Algae Production ................................................................................ 34 Recipes................................................................................................................... 35 Conclusion .................................................................................................................... 46

4

Introduction
As the energy crisis heats up, more and more consumers are seeking viable alternatives to traditional gasoline and diesel. In addition, the environmental impact of gasoline and other fossil fuels has made it vital that a viable alternative is found. Finding an affordable alternative to fossil fuels, as well as one that offers environmental benefits is incredibly important. However, the impact on the wallet is, perhaps, the most important consideration when speaking of fuel alternatives. While ethanol may be loudly proclaimed as the best option for consumers, the substance has numerous problems, such as increased cost and reduced energy production. In short, this means that ethanol is more expensive and provides less fuel mileage than standard gasoline. Ethanol aside, many consumers have turned their attention to biodiesel. The large body of myth surrounding biodiesel makes it difficult to understand the benefits and drawbacks of this fuel. Biodiesel has been proclaimed the best alternative to ordinary petroleum diesel, as well as an affordable way for consumers to fuel their cars and trucks for everyday driving. Is biodiesel the answer? For many consumers, the facts surrounding biodiesel are more than a little murky. What is the substance, actually? How is it manufactured? Is it truly the cure-all that many proponents claim? To answer these questions, and many others, we'll need to delve deep into the topic. In this eBook, you will learn how biodiesel is produced, what it actually offers, what is needed to produce it and much more. You'll learn whether biodiesel is an adequate alternative for your use.

5

Chapter 1
The Cost of Using Biodiesel

Biodiesel is often touted as being a more affordable option than petroleum diesel. However, is this reality? What about other costs involved, such as vehicle modification, production equipment and duty tax? What will the future hold for the cost involved with biodiesel production? Below, you'll find out all you need to know about the costs involved with producing biodiesel, its impact on your wallet and what the future may hold.

Cost Comparison of Biodiesel vs. Petroleum Diesel
The never-ending search for alternative, affordable fuel options for our vehicles has led to some surprising developments. One of those is biodiesel (which is not actually a new product). While biodiesel promises fuel from vegetable oils, what are the costs associated with it? There are two ways in which you can attain biodiesel to operate your vehicle – purchase it commercially, or make is yourself. Both methods offer benefits, though they have dramatically different costs.

Commercial Biodiesel
Biodiesel is available commercially in every state in the US but Alaska, through a wide variety of retailers. Even entertainers like Willie Nelson have gotten behind the product by supplying their own brands of fuel. However, for consumers seeking a low-cost alternative to petroleum diesel, this may not be the best option. In fact, on average, commercial biodiesel is only a few cents
6

cheaper than conventional diesel, much of which contains at least 2% biodiesel by volume anyway. Biodiesel/petroleum diesel blends cost as much as traditional diesel at the pump, as well.

Making Your Own
Making your own biodiesel is a much better option than paying the high prices at the pump. Most of the costs associated with biodiesel come in the form of state and federal taxes, as well as in importation tariffs. By making your own fuel at home, you can dramatically reduce the cost. In fact, making your own biodiesel can cost as little as $1.25 per gallon, once you have all the equipment setup. The savings you realize over the course of a year will more than pay for the equipment needed, as well as any other supplies that you must purchase. This is an excellent example of tremendous return on investment potential.

The Cheapest Biodiesel Source Material
Now that you know biodiesel is a more affordable solution to your energy needs, you must find a cheap source of oil. Oil is, of course, at the heart of the equation. Biodiesel is produced from vegetable oil, animal fat and several other sources. In fact, soybean oil, palm oil and even waste vegetable oil can be used to produce biodiesel. The most affordable option, in terms of dollars spent, is waste vegetable oil. In many cases, you can actually get this free of charge, if you take it off the hands of restaurants in your local area. However, this will require "harvesting" time, as well as effort. This increases your expenditure and investment.

7

Pure vegetable oil or (SVO) can also be used. However, this means that you will have to purchase the oil in the first place. Soybeans are the source of the majority of the biodiesel sold in the US and are relatively affordable, as well. The question of "affordability" is simply a matter of how one looks at the equation. If you count time and effort as "cost," then many sources are quite similarly priced. However if you do not count the time and effort required to get waste vegetable oil, then this is the best option for your needs. As a note, algae holds the promise of being the most affordable source of biodiesel, though the technology is not necessarily advanced enough for home-produced algae to be a reality. However, in coming years algae may well hold the future for almost all energy needs. It is also important to understand what biodiesel is not. Here are a few of the things that many consumers mistakenly believe that biodiesel is: • • • • Pure vegetable oil Waste vegetable oil Palm oil Vegetable oil with special additives

The Cheapest Way to Make Biodiesel
If you are interested only in bottom-dollar costs and finding the cheapest way to make biodiesel, a homebrew setup is the best option for you. Of course, the actual price of the rig will vary depending on the quantity that you want to make, as well as the cost of lye and methanol in your area. The costs of production ingredients vary wildly between different geographic areas.

8

You will need to purchase quite a few things to produce biodiesel at home. Here is a rough price guide to help you understand the conundrum. • • • Lye – roughly $3 per lb Methanol – roughly $3-4 per gallon Processor – You can make your own processor from plastic jugs and steel drums (make sure you have the correct size for the batch of biodiesel you wish to make), but you can also purchase stainless steel varieties. The prices for commercial options can be exorbitant, but they are safer than plastic. Prices average $3,000 to more than $15,000 for home kits. o Other options for homemade kits involve using water heaters with attached pumps and plumbing. • You will also need a settling/holding tank of at least the same size as the processing unit. • Oil – Of course, you'll need oil for use as a production source. The cost of your source material will obviously play a role in how much it costs you to produce your own biodiesel.

Production Plant Setup Costs
Of course, determining a final cost for your setup is vital. However, that cost cannot be determined until you have answered the following questions: • • • How much biodiesel do I want to produce? How much biodiesel do I want to keep on hand at all times? What source materials will I use? o Waste vegetable oil
9

o Pure vegetable oil o Palm oil (currently one of the cheapest) o Soybean oil (currently one of the cheapest) o Other sources (animal fats, such as lard or tallow) • • What production materials do I have available? Do I want to purchase commercially produced production materials or use "do-ityourself" options? • Do I have a safe place to produce biodiesel? o As a note, while making it in your kitchen is possible, it is strongly advised against.

The Future of Biodiesel
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could predict the future and hop aboard the biodiesel express today? While that may not be possible, it is possible to take a look at worldwide trends and get an idea of what the future of biodiesel may be. Here are a few of the current trends. • Will biodiesel continue to be cheap to produce at home? While it is likely to remain affordable, the costs associated with home-production are already beginning to mount. Many retailers now charge for waste vegetable oil (a growing trend), while the materials to make biodiesel (processors, etc) continue to become more expensive, as well. • Will biodiesel replace regular diesel in the world market? While that is wonderful thought, it is not likely. The sheer amount of arable land conversion necessary to grow and harvest oil-producing plants is staggering.
10

For instance, for the US to produce enough biodiesel to sustain our energy needs, every square inch of arable land would need to be dedicated to biodiesel production. This cuts out food products and everything else for which that land would be used. However, new research into algae oil production may hold the key. As that research is still in its infancy, the results remain to be seen.

11

Chapter 2
Biodiesel Use and You

Of course, consumers have numerous questions about the use of biodiesel. Will it harm your engine? Does your vehicle need to be converted to run biodiesel? How much does biodiesel pollute the environment? These and many other questions can rear their heads, causing confusion over the topic. It's time to shed some light on the subject.

Test Your Biodiesel Before Use!
Of course, you don't want to pour untested biodiesel into your car. That road leads to headaches and very expensive repairs. However, there are a few simple steps that you can follow to ensure you put quality fuel in your vehicle.

The Wash Test
Washing is, of course, part of the production process. However, you can perform a wash test on your biodiesel during production to ensure that you have the correct formulation. To perform the test, simply follow these steps: • • • • • • Get a ½ liter bottle Add 150 ml of water Add 150 ml biodiesel Screw the cap on tightly Shake vigorously for 30 seconds Wait for the water and fuel to separate
12

o If separation takes less than 30 minutes, your fuel is viable and you can continue production o If separation takes more than 30 minutes or does not complete, your batch is unusable (you have an emulsion, not fuel)

Does Your Engine Need Modifications to Run Biodiesel?
Ensuring the safety of your vehicle is vital. All the biodiesel production is for naught if your car simply dies while running the fuel. However, unlike using straight waste vegetable oil or even straight virgin vegetable oil, your engine needs no modifications to run biodiesel. On the other hand, there may be other concerns and modifications required. Here's a list of what you'll need to know.

Concerns and Criteria
Of course, you're worried that biodiesel will kill your car or truck. However, the following list of criteria will help you ensure that your vehicle runs better than ever and for less money! Engine Modifications – As long as you have a diesel engine, you will not need to modify any parts on the engine. Fuel Filters – Fuel filters can and will wreak havoc on your driving. Biodiesel is a powerful solvent, as well as a fuel. It will begin to dissolve the wax and dirt deposits left behind by conventional diesel fuel. These deposits will clog your fuel filter and reduce power, even starving the engine of fuel completely. Do not change your fuel filter before running biodiesel! This is a quick way to waste time and money. Let the biodiesel do its job and dissolve those deposits. Replace the filter when the engine begins making sputtering sounds. Make sure that you know where the filter is located, and what tools you need for replacement.
13

Additionally, keep a few spare filters on hand. The dissolving process can take several weeks. During this time, it is important that you change the filter any time you find your engine starving for fuel. Finally, change the filter once more when the dissolving process is done to ensure proper operation. In-Tank Filters – Quite a few vehicles have an in-line fuel filter and an in-tank filter. The filter in your fuel tank can become clogged, as well. If you feel comfortable removing this filter, you can change it yourself. In many vehicles, you will have to remove the rear seat to get at the filter (and pump). Hoses, Seals and Gaskets – As mentioned, biodiesel is a powerful solvent. It also has a destructive effect on rubber hoses, gaskets and seals. However, don't panic just yet. If your vehicle is newer than model year 1993-94, you have resistant hoses and seals. If your vehicle is older than this, you will need to begin replacing those hoses, seals and gaskets. Once again, do not panic. If you keep an eye on your components, you'll be able to replace them as needed. When replacing these items, use replacement parts made with Viton.

A-Blending We Go! Of course, blended diesel and biodiesel is available at the pump. Can you blend your own mixture from your home production with petroleum diesel to make fuel stretch a little further? What additives do you need to put into the mix when blending fuel types? Here are the answers to your blending-related questions. • Can I mix my biodiesel with regular diesel? Of course, you can. Diesel blends are widely available and are a viable alternative to using straight petroleum diesel. • Do I need any additives to blend my fuel?
14

No, you do not need to put any additives into the mixture. • What is the best blend ratio for mixing petroleum diesel and biodiesel? Any blend of the two fuels is possible. However, mixing a text batch is advisable. Often, differing components in the two fuels, especially with inferior biodiesel, results in stratification in the end product, reducing its effectiveness when placed in your tank. If you mix diesel and biodiesel and end up with a stratified mixture, reformulate your biodiesel mix. • Is it better to blend your diesel with biodiesel? Blending can help you stretch your dollar a little further. However, to avoid the stratification problem mentioned above, use straight biodiesel without the mix.

Side Effects of Biodiesel Use
Many consumers wonder if there are any side effects from using biodiesel in the longterm. What can they expect from the use of this fuel? Does it damage the vehicle's engine or fuel system over time? Simply put, there are almost no side effects of biodiesel use for your vehicle. Once you have replaced the fuel filter and any hoses or gaskets made of nonresistant rubber, you should have no further issues. One pleasant side effect of using this fuel is the change to your vehicle's exhaust. Diesel exhaust is notoriously noxious-smelling. Using biodiesel to fuel your vehicle changes that smell completely, transforming it into something much more pleasant.

15

Engine-Related Questions
One of the most common questions about biodiesel is "Will it run in my engine?" While it has been mentioned in previous sections, this subject deserves a bit more detail. Will biodiesel run in your engine? The short answer is, "Yes." What engines will biodiesel run in without problems? Here's the list: • • • • • Higher performance engines (TDI, etc.) Common rail engines New model diesel engines Old model diesel engines Direct injection diesel engines

Yes, in short, biodiesel can be run successfully in any diesel engine, provided that the fuel is of top quality.

Engine Performance
Will the use of biodiesel affect how your engine performs? Will it degrade power and performance, either immediately or through long-term use? Happily, biodiesel may actually increase the performance of your engine. Because it is oil-based, biodiesel acts as a lubricant, as well as a solvent. Thus, it can clean harmful deposits from your engine, as well as lubricating the moving parts. Long-term use does not appear to affect engine performance either. Engines run on correctly formulated biodiesel show substantial improvements in engine smoothness, and other areas, as well. This means that you can use biodiesel for as long as you like, without the worry of harmful effects.

16

Pollution and Environmental Concerns
While the benefits to your wallet should now be apparent, what benefits does biodiesel offer the environment? Does it cause pollution? How do the emissions of biodiesel measure up against those of petroleum diesel?

Emissions Pollution
First, biodiesel is the first and only alternative fuel to be certified through the Clean Air Act. The emissions reduction is considerable. Here's the rundown (all comparisons are against standard petroleum diesel fuel): • • • • • • Sulfur emissions – Almost 100% eliminated Carbon monoxide – 48% reduction Unburned hydrocarbons – 67% reduction Cancer causing compounds – 70-80% reduction Benzene - 90% reduction Smog forming particulates (Nox) – Increase of 10%

As you can see, biodiesel offers a dramatic benefit to the environment over the use of traditional petroleum diesel.

Long-Term Impact of Biodiesel on the Environment
Unfortunately, the rosy glow of the immediate environmental benefits is offset by the effects of long-term use and mass-production of biodiesel on the environment. While biodiesel production and use does not adversely affect the environment, human avarice and greed does.

17

What could humanity possibly do to ruin the benefits of biodiesel? Unfortunately, it is a question of supply and demand. Because biodiesel relies on plant and animal oils, large tracts of oil-bearing plants are being cultivated. The most common sources of oil, today, are soybeans (in the US) and oil palms (much of the rest of the world). Neither of these species is the perfect choice for biodiesel production, but they are cheap, easily cultivated and already in use. In fact, enormous sections of old-growth forests have been felled in countries like Malaysia in order to plant more oil palms. In addition, the UK has already taken steps to limit the importation of oil from countries that do not cultivate and harvest using a sustainable method. This is only a single example of the potential effects of long-term biodiesel use.

A Bright Spot
Not all is bleak in the development of biodiesel. New research and tests on algae show incredible promise. While oil harvesting from algae is not quite ready for home use, it does have potential to change the landscape dramatically. Why is this? Algae can be farmed in areas where other species will not grow, including deserts and even in the ocean. This means that less arable land will have to be converted from food production to oil production and reduces the impact of long-term biodiesel use.

18

Chapter 3
Production Methods Defined

Now that your questions about the benefits and uses of biodiesel have been answered, it's time to move on to the next subject. How do you make biodiesel? How do you make it safely? What are the differences between home production and commercial production? How much can you produce for home use before you must become a commercial producer? These and many other questions will be answered in the following sections.

The Simplest Method of Biodiesel Production
Can biodiesel be produced simply? What are the drawbacks to simple, easy production? Are there safety concerns? Here's a bit of information for those seeking the quickest, easiest solution to producing biodiesel. The fastest method of production is to simply dump your source material directly into a processor, heat the mixture and siphon off the top layer. This is then allowed to settle in a third container, siphoned off and then placed directly into a fuel receptacle (gas can). Sounds simple, doesn't it? It certainly is. It is also dangerous, creates poor quality biodiesel that does not meet federal requirements and can fill your home with harmful vapors. This is a poor choice for anyone seeking a viable alternative fuel source. Unfortunately, when dealing with biodiesel, simple is not always the best answer. However, doing it correctly can be relatively simple, once you have mastered a few steps. Below, you will find the required steps to produce biodiesel safely and effectively. This process will give you the highest quality product, with minimum hassle and trouble.
19

Safe, Effective and Practical Biodiesel Production
Ensuring that your biodiesel production is safe is vital to your health, your family's safety and even the finished product of your efforts. Below, you'll find several sections outlining the production process, the items you need to purchase and more. By producing your biodiesel in a safe, effective manner, you will not only lower the risks associated with fuel production, but also be able to enjoy the benefits of your own fuel, lowered costs and independence.

Step 1 – Choose your Location
The location that you choose for production is vital. Numerous videos on YouTube and around the Internet show people making biodiesel right in their kitchen. While this is certainly possible, it is not advisable. The location should be: • • • • • • Out of the way In a low-traffic area In a well-ventilated area Out of the reach of children Out of the reach of pets In a location that maintains a constant temperature

In most cases, a garage is the best place for production. Keep the door locked at all times to ensure that children cannot gain inadvertent access to your biodiesel. Remember, you are producing fuel; it is toxic if consumed by pets or children and can be lethal.
20

If a garage is not available, or yours is currently filled with the accumulated debris of passing years, a storage building is a good option. These can be found quite affordably and offer plenty of space. Some come prewired for electricity, and have windows for ventilation, though these can also be added to other models. Regardless of where you decide to put your production equipment, ensure that there is plenty of room for the processor and other assorted necessities. Because processor footprints vary drastically with type, manufacturer and materials used, have an idea in mind of how much space you will need.

Step 2 – Choose Your Safety Equipment
While the processor and other included equipment (hoses, pumps, heaters, etc) are also part of your safety equipment, you will need some specific items on hand to help protect yourself from the corrosive, dangerous agents used to produce biodiesel. You should have: Safety Goggles – These handy little devices will keep biodiesel, lye and methanol out of your eyes during production. Lye is especially caustic and can cause blindness if care is not exercised during use. Chemical Resistant Apron – Yes, you'll need to wear an apron while concocting your fuel. By eliminating contact between skin/clothing and your chemicals, you can help ensure your safety. The apron chosen should be of vinyl (rubber can work, but expect to replace it) and long enough to come just above your knees. Protective Gloves – Never, never handle biodiesel or additives without the aid of heavy-duty protective gloves. In addition, rubber gloves are not a viable choice due to the corrosive effects of biodiesel on rubber. Nitrile PVC gloves are a good choice. These are disposable and should not degrade due to contact with biodiesel. Heavy Clothing – Finally, make sure you are wearing heavy clothing during production. This does not mean bundling up in a parka. Wear jeans, a long-sleeved shirt and
21

appropriate footwear (work boots are a good choice). Heavier clothing helps eliminate inadvertent contact with biodiesel and associated chemicals. Face Mask – Wearing a facemask can help reduce the amount of vapors you inhale. In addition, never work with biodiesel without proper ventilation. Ensure that there are several open windows in your work area to allow vapors to be dissipated. A SCUBA apparatus is the best choice, as organic canisters do not filter out methanol fumes. Pumps – Using pumps and hoses is more than a handy tool to increase the ease of production. The use of pumps for creating the methoxide mixture, transferring that mixture to the processing tank and other needs is a vital part of safety. By ensuring that methanol and methoxide are not exposed to the air, you can immediately reduce the amount of harmful vapors to which you are exposed. Fire Extinguishers - While it is hoped that you will never need one, biodiesel and methanol are flammable. Keeping at least one fire extinguisher handy at all times is vital to your safety and wellbeing, as well as that of your family. Choose a fire extinguisher rated for fuel and oil fires.

Step 3 – Choosing Your Processor
The processor that you choose is vital to your production. As mentioned previously in this book, you have the choice of purchasing a premade processor, or building your own. If you choose to build your own, you will need plans to help with the process. Thankfully, the Internet is full of plans, most of which are reliable. If you choose to purchase a premade system, opt for steel, rather than plastic. Plastic processors can catch fire, often seal poorly, and can even affect the quality of your biodiesel. What should a good processor include? What shape, size, construction and materials should be used? Unfortunately, these criteria are difficult to answer. Size and shape
22

are largely personal preference, based on your needs and usage. However, there are some vital elements that you must ensure are present (or absent). • Copper – Never use copper processors or processors with copper elements. Copper can ruin your oil by catalyzing it. • Plastic – Try to avoid plastic. While some plastic models are effective, most are a waste of time. • Steel – Steel is the best option for your processor. It need not be stainless steel, though stainless options exist and can provide exterior corrosion resistance (the interior will not corrode). • Size and Shape – The size and shape of your processor will be determined by the type of stirring/agitation system that you use. For instance, squat processors require much more forceful agitation to be effective, while tall, thin ones require less effort. • Insulation – Insulated tanks offer some benefits. However, they will not have heaters, forcing you to use an alternative means of heating your mixture. • Thermostat – A thermostat is not required, though it can be a darn handy tool. If your processor is equipped with a thermostat, you can leave the machine operating until the process has finished. Without the thermostat, you will have to manually check the temperature to ensure that overheating does not occur. • Footprint – The footprint taken up by your processor and equipment must easily fit within your workspace, with room to spare. Measure your workspace and choose an option compatible. A processor that is too large will have obvious drawbacks. • Agitation Method – You must choose an agitation method that fits your processor tank. The two popular methods of agitation are stirring using blades and agitation using a pump.
23

Step 4 – Chemicals Necessary for Production
You cannot make biodiesel without heat and without chemicals. Thankfully, the chemicals needed are few and easily obtained. However, they do pose risks and must be handled carefully. Ensure that you have the safety equipment listed previously in this book. • Lye – Lye is used during the creation of methoxide. Ensure that you use KOH (potassium hydroxide). While this is more expensive than sodium hydroxide, it dissolves much more easily in the methanol. Lye of 85% purity and above can be used, though the higher the purity level, the better your process will work. NaOH can be used with waste vegetable oil. • Methanol – Methanol is readily available in many different forms. It often masquerades as fondue fuel and even gas line antifreeze. Make sure that you get methanol and not ethanol; ethanol will not work for this process. In addition, check the manufacturer's label to ensure that it is methanol and not "white gas." You should be able to find both chemicals through local stores. However, if you cannot locate them in your local area, the Internet is a handy source. Just ensure that you know the purity and contents of what you are purchasing. A reputable source is vital for your production.

Step 5 – Your Heat Source
Your fuel source must be heated while being stirred or agitated. Ensuring that you have the correct type of heat source is vital. Never, never use direct heating, such as an open flame. Use only indirect heat or a heat exchange system. These can be found online or through specialty stores in the physical world. In addition, as mentioned previously, you should have a thermostat with your heat source to ensure
24

that you are able to maintain proper temperature at all times. Overheating produces excess fumes, as well as other problems.

Step 6 – Making Methoxide
You will use the lye and methanol to create methoxide, which is added to your oil during the production process. However, making methoxide requires certain steps and safety precautions. Below, you'll find a guide to making it the safest way possible, as well as other information required for success. These measurements are for a 10-liter batch of biodiesel. For information about running test batches, see later sections. • • Step 1- Pour 2 liters of methanol into a strong glass container with a sealable lid Step 2 – Measure 35 grams of lye (be quick; lye absorbs moisture very quickly from the surrounding air) • • • Step 3 – Pour lye into the glass container with the methanol Step 4 – Seal the container! Step 6 – Swirl the mixture inside the container several times to facilitate the dissolving process • • Step 7 – Be careful; methoxide gets quite warm during the mixing process Step 8 – When fully dissolved, add the mixture, while stirring, into pre-warmed oil in your processor Safety Notes – Methoxide is a corrosive substance; you must handle this with great care. In addition, ensure that you do not allow either your lye container or your methanol container to remain open during the process. Both absorb moisture from the surrounding atmosphere, which can prove problematic during the production of biodiesel.
25

Make sure that all equipment is clean and free of moisture for this process. You will also need two funnels; one for the methanol and one for the lye. Finally, ensure that your measurements are extremely accurate. Inaccurate measurements will result in an unusable product.

Step 7 – Agitation and Settling
Make sure that your oil is heated to 131-140 degrees Fahrenheit prior to adding your methoxide. You will notice an immediate reaction, as the oil turns from a dark color to a light golden color. However, the reaction is not finished. Agitation must be maintained for some time. For a 10-liter batch, stirring should be done for 1 – 2 hours. After stirring, you should allow the mixture to settle overnight. The next day, you will be able to siphon biodiesel out of the processor and leave the glycerin byproduct in the bottom of the processor. However, you cannot use your biodiesel, just yet. There are a few more steps necessary for completion.

Step 8 – Washing Your Biodiesel
You'll remember the washing test from a previous chapter. Washing your biodiesel is not only important, it's vital to ensuring that you have the correct product for use in your engine. Washing is not only an important way to test for purity, it also leads to greater purity by removing even more contaminants. What contaminants does washing remove? You'll find that by washing your biodiesel, you are able to remove excess methanol, lye, soaps and other harmful byproducts that can wreak havoc on your vehicle. To wash your biodiesel, you must: • Add roughly half as much water as biodiesel to the container
26

• • •

Add an aerator with a ceramic air-stone Drop the air-stone to the bottom of the container (where the water is now located) Turn on the aerator and leave the mixture alone

However, the process is not finished with this. You must wash the biodiesel at least three or four times with this method, with each wash taking approximately seven hours to complete. Between each wash cycle, you should allow the mixture to settle for at least 1 – 2 hours. Yes, that's a lot of time. The final product is of a higher quality than what was previously in your tank, though. An alternative method is called "stir washing" and offers a much faster process. This involves the following: • • • • • Add the same quantity of water as used in the previous method to the mixture Use a blade stir to agitate the mixture for approximately five minutes Allow the mixture to settle for at least 1 full hour Siphon off the top "clear" section of biodiesel Repeat the stirring, settling and siphoning process until all of the fuel has been washed

Step 9 – Drying Your Fuel
Now that your biodiesel is nice and clean, it's time to dry it. There are two ways in which you can do this. The first, simpler method, is to simply allow the fuel to air dry for 24 hours after washing. Use a vented container and leave the fuel in the sunlight for a day or so. The second method involves heating the biodiesel to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and allowing it to cool with a vented cap for a full 24-hours. The result should be a clear
27

liquid. However, if it is cloudy, you many need to wash it again and repeat the drying process.

Step 10 – Storing Your Fuel
Now that the fuel has been washed and dried, it's time to decant it into storage containers. Use only approved gas containers, such as a plastic gas can with an HDPE rating. Biodiesel can be stored for several months, much like diesel and regular gasoline. However, it cannot be stored indefinitely. If you choose to store your biodiesel longer than six months, you will need to use additives to extend its lifespan and usefulness.

28

Chapter 4
Large Scale and Commercial Production

Biodiesel has proven not only a reliable homebrewed fuel, but has entered the market through large-scale production facilities. You'll find biodiesel in almost every state in the US, most of it made from soybeans. It is also widely available throughout Europe (more so than in the States). European biodiesel is often made with palm oil or other sources, though rarely with soybean oil. Large scale and commercial production of biodiesel requires strict adherents to federal mandates for quality and purity. In addition, many commercially available biodiesel brands are of lower quality than many homebrewed options. This is due to the relative cost involved with creating the fuel, as well as the difference in feedstock used for biodiesel. As mentioned, most biodiesels in the US rely on soybean oil for production. However, soybeans are not the preferred source of oil. Many homebrew enthusiasts are willing to use higher-quality oils, such as canola. In addition, the homebrew process is often capable of creating a higher-quality product simply because of attention to detail, no production deadlines and other factors. However, with a higher-quality oil, commercial manufacturing of biodiesel can create the same quality fuel as home-brewed options. In addition to the right feedstock, a commercial producer will require optimal equipment. This means locating manufacturing equipment suppliers.

29

The History of Large Scale Biodiesel Production
Biodiesel has been around for a very long time. In fact, it was used in the 1900 World's Fair to power a tractor at the behest of the French government. However, it has not been widely used or widely manufactured until recent years. The reason that biodiesel has not enjoyed a longer production run is simple. Petroleum has been cheaper and more widely available than biodiesel for decades. However, that is changing as the world nears the end of viable fossil fuel deposits. To find a viable alternative fuel, many manufacturers have turned to biodiesel as an option. Many governments around the globe have mandated that commercial petroleum diesel contain a percentage of biodiesel, as well (2% in many cases). However, other blends have become available, as well. Blends such as B20 and B80 are available in most areas. B100 is the rating for pure biodiesel, which is available in some areas, though by no means in all.

Biodiesel Resources, Equipment Manufacturers and More
Whether your interest in biodiesel is from a homebrew or a commercial standpoint, you'll need to be able to find the equipment, chemicals and tools required to create the fuel. Here is a list of valuable resources for your use.

US Biodiesel Kits and Supplies
B100 Supply.com – Offers home brewers the equipment, books and other supplies required to successfully brew biodiesel at home Home Biodiesel Kits.com – Provides filtering systems, biodiesel kits and preassembled options for the serious home brewer Biodiesel Solutions.com – Provides support to home-based biodiesel brewers, as well as equipment, supplies and information
30

Olympia Green Fuels.com – Provides processors capable of small or large-scale batches for home use, as well as light commercial use, farm use and more Doctor Diesel.com – Supplies biodiesel equipment for small-scale operations Utah Biodiesel Supply.com – Supplies biodiesel equipment, books, information, promotional materials and chemicals for production at home Biodiesel-Technologies.com – Provides commercial and homebrew setups with viable equipment to increase production speed and production quality

Biodiesel Retailers (and Oil Resellers)
Biodiesel.org – Provides a map of all biodiesel retailers in the US Oliomap.com – Helps locate retailers of vegetable oils, biodiesel, equipment and other necessities FuelWerks.com – Sells biodiesel for use in commercial and personal vehicles, as well as blends, and storage containers for any capacity required SQBiofuels.com – Markets and distributes biodiesel regionally (Oregon), as well as having national connections. Supplies B100 and blends for automotive use, as well as home heating and more BiofuelOasis.com – Provides commercial biodiesel for a variety of uses and needs in any size batch required BuyBiodiesel.com – Supplies biodiesel to commercial interests and other needs. Does not specialize in homebrew or consumer-end production

Large-Scale Production Equipment
Biodiesel-Technologies.com – Lease and sale of important biodiesel production equipment for commercial production
31

JatroDiesel.com – Offers refining services, production, research and development, as well as commercial equipment for large-scale production of biodiesel NovaBioSource.com – Provides biodiesel produced from multiple feedstock types, as well as equipment rental, leasing and sales

32

Chapter 5
Usable Plants, Recipes and More

To make biodiesel successfully, you'll need to have the right recipe. Just like baking a cake or preparing a complicated dish, a recipe is vital to your success. By following the guidelines of other, more experienced makers, you can attain the best results almost immediately. In addition, knowing the plants that can be used to produce oil is also important for your needs.

Usable Plants
Quite a few plants can provide you with the oil vital to making biodiesel. However, not all plants produce the correct oil for your use. In addition to the types of seeds and plants relevant, you'll need to know which ones offer the most benefit. Below, you'll find seeds listed with their per acre oil production rates. • • • • • • corn – 18 gallons per acre cashew nut - 19 gallons per acre oats - 23 gallons per acre lupine - 25 gallons per acre kenaf - 29 gallons per acre calendula - 33 gallons per acre • • • • • • coffee - 49 gallons per acre linseed - 51 gallons per acre hazelnuts - 51 gallons per acre euphorbia - 56 gallons per acre pumpkin seed - 57 gallons per acre coriander - 57 gallons per acre

33

• • • • • • • • • • • •

cotton - 35 gallons per acre hemp - 39 gallons per acre soybean - 48 gallons per acre tung oil tree - 100 gallons per acre sunflowers - 102 gallons per acre cacao - 110 gallons per acre peanuts - 113 gallons per acre opium poppy - 124 gallons per acre rapeseed - 127 gallons per acre olives - 129 gallons per acre castor beans - 151 gallons per acre pecan nuts - 191 gallons per acre

• • • • • • • •

mustard seed - 61 gallons per acre camelina - 62 gallons per acre sesame - 74 gallons per acre safflower - 83 gallons per acre rice - 88 gallons per acre jojoba - 194 gallons per acre jatropha - 202 gallons per acre macadamia nuts - 240 gallons per acre

• • • •

brazil nuts - 255 gallons per acre avocado - 282 gallons per acre coconut - 287 gallons per acre oil palm - 635 gallons per acre

A Note on Algae Production
Algae is perhaps the most-hyped option for oil production for biodiesel creation. However, while the potential yields are great, the technology is not in place for commercial production, much less home production. Algae holds the most potential for a renewable resource, which takes up less space than any other crop. As mentioned earlier in the book, algae can be grown in deserts, in the ocean, almost anywhere that other oil-bearing crops cannot be grown. In addition, some estimates put the oil production from a garage-size batch of algae as the equivalent of a full football field of soybeans.
34

Thus, while algae may be the future of biodiesel production, it is certainly not the present. Both homebrew enthusiasts and commercial producers must rely on conventional crops for the present.

Recipes
Finally, for your information, here are some of the best recipes for creating biodiesel from a variety of different feedstock choices. This recipe produces approximately 40 gallons of biodiesel: Start With 40 gallons of used vegetable oil Filter the oil by pouring it through a strainer Pour 40 gallons of oil into the processor Heat the oil to 120 degrees Fahrenheit Check the temperature with a thermometer (if you have a thermostat, set it for the correct temperature) (Do not use an open flame to heat the processor) Titration You will need: distilled water, isopropyl alcohol, lye (NaOH) not KOH, graduated eyedropper, pH meter, 2 small dishes, 1-liter container Creating your lye/water solution: Dissolve 50 ml of lye in 500 ml distilled water within the provided container Save the excess solution for use with later batches. Prepare the First Dish
35

5 ml of the lye/water mixture added to dish 1 45 ml of distilled water added to dish 1 Prepare the Second Dish 40 ml of isopropyl alcohol added to dish 2 4 ml used vegetable oil added to dish 2 Mix the contents of dish 2 together until dissolved, ensuring that the mixture remains warm Use the pH meter to check the level of pH within dish 2 Titration of the oil 1 ml of solution in dish 1 should be placed into dish 2 Check the pH level of the result Continue adding solution from dish 1 to dish 2 until the pH climbs several levels Calculate Titration L = ((D / 4) + 3.5) * O D = Number of 1 ml drops placed in dish 2 during titration O = Milliliters of oil to be reacted L = Number of grams of lye needed for reaction to occur Record L for use in next step Creating Methoxide Items Needed: methanol, lye, and (2) 5-gallon buckets with lids Prepare Buckets Clean both buckets Drill 1/4" hole in the center of each bucket lid
36

Prepare Methanol Pour 4 gallons of methanol into each bucket Place lids on lightly Prepare Lye Locate the L value from the Titration step Divide L by 2 to make GL GL = Grams of lye to use in each bucket Measure two sets of GL grams of lye Set lye aside for use when mixing with the methanol Mix the Buckets Remove the lid from the first bucket Stir the methanol in the first bucket While stirring, add the premeasured lye to the first bucket Mix until the lye is dissolved, which takes approximately 10 minutes Repeat the process with the second bucket Adding Methoxide to the Processor Ensure Oil in Processor is at 120 degrees Fahrenheit Remove the lid from each bucket Carefully pour the contents into the processor Mixing the Oil Mix 5 Minutes, Wait 10 Minutes Repeat 4 times
37

Allow Oil to Separate Let the mixture sit for at least 12 hours (24 is preferable) This allows the biodiesel and glycerin to separate, with the biodiesel rising to the top and the glycerin condensing on the bottom of the processor Soap may also form between the biodiesel and glycerin Remove the Biodiesel Remove the biodiesel from the processor by siphoning or pumping All that should be left in the processor is byproduct layer Dispose of the glycerin remaining in the processor Washing the Biodiesel Add half as much water to the container as biodiesel Add an aerator and air-stone (use ceramic stones) Turn on the aerator and leave running for approximately 24 hours Watch for emulsification during this time Turn off aerator when time is up Allow Water & Oil to Separate Allow mixture to settle for at least 12 hours; this allows the mixture to separate Remove Biodiesel with Siphon Drain biodiesel layer into a clean container Allow biodiesel to dry until clear (cover container with vented lid)

38

If product is cloudy after 24 hours, heat mixture to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and allow to dry another 24 hours Transfer to Storage Container The containers must be rated for holding fuel Drain the remaining biodiesel layer into an open container Store until ready to use Fill Fuel Tank Fill the fuel tank of any vehicle with a diesel engine Biodiesel can be mixed with regular diesel fuel in any ratio

A further recipe for your convenience uses only new oil, thus requiring KOH rather than NaOH (lye), as well as the use of something other than isopropyl alcohol. In addition, this recipe is for creating a small, "test" batch of biodiesel. However, with a few minor calculations, you can convert it to any batch size necessary. Ingredients 1 liter of new unused vegetable oil 4 grams or more of lye 250 ml methanol Equipment Needed Two clean, dry 2-liter plastic bottles A funnel
39

A dry, 600 ml (1 pint) glass jar, with a lid that gives a tight seal A 500 ml metric measuring cup Metric scales Cooking thermometer Plastic safety gloves Plastic lab apron Face shield or safety glasses Procedure Put on your safety gear Measure 250 ml of room temperature methanol into the one-pint jar. Measure 4g of lye and add to the methanol. Secure the lid tightly. Agitate the jar until the lye is completely dissolved. It will heat up as the reaction takes place. Leave for at least 10 minutes. Heat the 1-liter of new vegetable oil to 140°F only. Use the funnel to pour the warmed oil into the dry 2-liter plastic bottle. Use the funnel to pour the methanol/lye mixture on top of the oil. Seal the lid tightly on the 2-liter bottle and shake vigorously for 20 seconds Allow an hour for the contents to separate. The biodiesel will rise to the top, while glycerin sinks to the bottom.
40

The biodiesel will be cloudy at first. Let it rest and it should clarify. Take off the lid and gently drain the biodiesel into the other dry, clean 2-liter plastic bottle using a funnel. The glycerin should remain in the original container. Wash 1 Gently pour 500 ml of room temperature water into the biodiesel and cap tightly. Rotate the bottle very gently end to end a few times for 30 seconds and then stand it upright. Once the water and biodiesel have separated, uncap and drain the water off. Wash 2 Repeat all the process in the step above but this time gently rotate the bottle for 1 minute. Wash 3 Repeat the step above. Wash 4 Repeat the previous step but shake bottle briskly. Wash 5 Repeat washing but shake vigorously. Allow your biodiesel to clarify for a day or so in warm sunlight.

41

The final recipe is simply steps that can be followed with any amount of oil necessary and can be modified to fit your needs. What You Need: Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) Graduated eyedropper Petri dish 20 ml beaker 1500 ml beaker Blender with a glass bowl Used cooking oil 500 ml beaker Isopropyl alcohol Litmus paper Methanol Titration Process Measure 1 gram of sodium hydroxide onto a Petri dish Measure 1 liter of distilled water into a 1500 ml beaker. Measure 10 ml of isopropyl alcohol into a 20ml beaker Dissolve 1ml of used vegetable oil into the isopropyl alcohol. Label oil/alcohol
42

Use the graduated eyedropper to drop 1 milliliter of the sodium hydroxide mixture into the oil/alcohol solution After 1 milliliter of the sodium hydroxide mixture is added, check the pH of the resulting solution Repeat these steps until the oil/alcohol reaches a pH of between eight & nine. The pH increase often occurs very suddenly, after a slow start. Usually no more than 3 milliliters of sodium hydroxide mixture will need to be added. Use the following equation: The number of milliliters of the sodium hydroxide mixture dropped into the oil/alcohol mixture = x (x+3.5)=N N= the number of grams of sodium hydroxide required to neutralize and react 1 liter of used vegetable oil N will be between 4.5-6.5, but it can have a higher rating if the oil has been used previously Step 2 Measuring the Ingredients (Reactants) Measure the reactants in separate containers Pour the liter of filtered, used oil into a 1500ml beaker 200 ml of methanol into a 500 ml beaker N grams of sodium hydroxide onto a Petri dish Step 3 Dissolving the Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) with Methanol
43

The third step combines the methanol with the sodium hydroxide, creating sodium methoxide. Once the lye has been dissolved in the methanol, the resulting mixture must be dissolved into the oil as soon as possible. Pour the methanol into a blender, cleaning up any spills immediately, using water and vinegar. Pour the lye into the blender. Replace the lid on the blender and use the lowest setting on the machine for 30 seconds. The lye should have dissolved into the methanol at this point; the blender may be quite warm to the touch. Step 4 Mixing them Up Keep your face away from the blender as you remove the lid. Pour the vegetable oil into the blender (very carefully). In a larger scale production, the methoxide would be added directly to the processor, where the oil is being warmed. Place the lid back on the blender and switch to medium-high for 15 minutes. If overheating occurs during this time, simply switch off the blender and wait until it has cooled sufficiently for use. Step 5 Settling of the Glycerin Allow the glycerin to settle for at least 8 hours (longer is better). The biodiesel collects at the top of the blender and the glycerin will collect at the bottom. Step 6 Separation After blending, the contents can either be transferred into a 1500ml container with a stopper or left in the blender for at least 8 hours.

44

Step 7 Cleaning Up Store the leftover used vegetable oil in a safe, cool place. Clean all the equipment so it is ready to use. Allow the glycerin to dry in air and sunlight for 1 week and then use as soap or discard.

45

Conclusion
In conclusion, biodiesel offers numerous benefits for a wide variety of needs. Consumer, commercial interests and many others can make excellent use of the product. However, until viable alternative sources of oil are located, the widespread use of biodiesel in a commercial setting seems unviable. While the commercial sector may see limited benefits, the private sector (homebrew methods) stands to gain enormously. Biodiesel is a potential investment option for interested commercial entrepreneurs, but the private maker stands to gain much more from the production and use of the fuel. Biodiesel is a fantastic way to reduce dependence on oil, help the environment, ensure that your vehicle operates smoothly and more. In addition, manufacturing the fuel can be an interesting exercise in science. That said, the future of biodiesel is bright with potential, if algae can be harnessed for actual use and production. These tiny creatures are capable of alleviating much of the world's hunger for energy, by supplying cheap, renewable energy through the conversion of oils into biodiesel.

46

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful