Biodiesel Operations at Drayton Farms, LLC

UMBC Biodiesel Project Founder, Mike German 443-255-5103,


• How we started • How things work now • Things we’ve learned • Future goals

How we started
• Student group of 5 chemical engineers • No place on campus • A professor’s, wife’s , brother’s, …

Move to Drayton Farms
• End of Summer 2008 Matt McShane contructs an appleseed reactor • Chemical engineers come to operate equipment

Our Setup

… without people in front

Settling Tank
• Secondary containment! • Raise storage off ground

Clean Oil Transfer Pump
• Not-self priming • Kept below oil line • Pumps well

Winter Time Oil Transfer…
• Very hard to pump cold oil • If possible, keep and collect oil warm • Avoid saturated and monounsaturated oils

Clean Oil Transfer Pump

• 60 gal water heater • 1500W heating element on temperature regulator • Max fill is 50 gal

• We titrated at first • Now we don’t…

• ~1400 g KOH/ 8 gal MeOH works okay for us in a base-base rxn
– 75% MeO-, react, drain glycerol, add rest, react

MeO- Mixer and Storage
• Shake mixed • HDPE • NPT valve for loading

• Spigot for emptying into reactor and releasing pressure

Draining Glycerol
• Let settle:
– During rxn for 20-30 min – End of rxn for 1 day

• Valve at bottom
• Taken to IBC storage
– BD and Glycerol separate – Later will distill glycerol

27/3 Test
• 27 mL MeOH3mL BD mix • No oil residue! • Good testing= happy engine!

Wash Tank
• Water mister at low volumes <0.25 gpm • Drains water off bottoms to compost

• No soap curds

Water Misters

Fogg-It Misting Heads $16 for 0.25 and 0.5 gpm heads at Utah Biodiesel Supply

Wash Test
• 2 parts biodiesel: 1 part water • No soap curds in the water

• Water clear-ish

Drying Tank
• Air bubbler • 1 kW Heater- no insulation • Clear to bottom

• Note poor plumbing

Final Product Storage
• 55- gal barrels • Long-term consider biocides • Winter time requires anti-gelling additives
– Or urea process

Construction Notes
• Have secondary containment • Include methanol recovery and glycerol purification in original design • Check system for leaks with oil or methanol first • Insulate everything your heating and include temperature control • Having a compost pile is nice • If you want to operate year-round make sure the place is insulated and can be heated safely

Not on Your Own Property?
• Keep good communications with owners and workers • Outline financial and biodiesel agreements before getting started

• Calculate cost savings from using homemade biodiesel vs diesel

Future Goals
• Larger, more automated system
– Less time per gallon – Smaller learning curve

• Incorporation of fuel into University needs • Clean electricity generation

People Involved
• Big thanks to:
– Drayton Farms, LLC – Matt McShane – Dr. Arnold – Students of UMBC Biodiesel Project

• Photo credits to Jay Richards and Mike German

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