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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

In the midst of all this 3.50 a gallon for regular unleaded crap, I've stumbled upon some articles dealing with Biodiesel. Past all the hype and hippy dogma, it still looks really compelling; something I could really look into considering I'm just about to go to college and start my life. Since diesel is a buck cheaper than gas (and more efficient too), I figure I'll probably end up buying a used Jetta TDI or something similar and cheap.

Anyone here have experience making Biodiesel out of waste veg. oil or mixing straight veg. oil with diesel? Any advice to someone wanting to do this?
 

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Fox, Waltside seems to know a bit about biodiesel...maybe he can fill us in?
 

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yep, i work for a guy that has a processor he just got running.

what sorts of things you want to know?

i might add, that to run straight vegetable oil, you wouldn't mix it with diesel.

what you would do is run it through a heater, and have it connected as a secondary fuel supply.

then, once it has started and is running, and has ran for about a minute, you flip the switch over, and run 100% straight vegetable oil.

so, you'd still need to buy a little bit of real fuel for this.

(recently, on /. they ran an article about a couple of guys that crossed the country using this proccess, with oil they stopped and got at restaruants, and they billed the article in such a way to make one belive that this was what biodiesel is, and it isn't.)

also, you'd want to switch it back over before you shut it off, just to make sure that the entire engine is purged of the SVO or it will solidify, and cause major hassle.

the biggest problems with SVO, are it's need to be heated, and it's tendancy to solidify.

as far as biodiesel, that's an entirely different concept.

EDIT: on to biodiesel.

this is a more complicated process, you need to bring the oil to about 110 degrees F, and then mix in some amount of methanol, and then continuously pump and mix it, for an hour or two. then you take the heat off, and let it settle for days, and it seperates into two layers, one being glycerin, and the other being the biodiesel product.

the biodiesel is kinda oily, and you will notice it's ability to clean your dirty hands on contact. because of this, and the fact it biodegrades, makes it an excellent solvent.

biodiesel tends to solidify a bit too, but there is many stabilizers on the market that will keep biodiesel from becoming solid, however, adding 10-20% of real diesel is the better way to do things.

also, it is a little more corrosive to rubber, you will need neoprene fuel lines, and a solvent-rated fuel pump.

in the end, your car smells better, and the insides are cleaner, and i've personally seen the difference it makes inside the engine.

www.gobiodiesel.org has alot more info than i do.
 

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How the hell would you get the vegetable oil out of the tank at 30 below zero??? I guess you would need a tank heater or some additive?

One a slightly different note, it is very interesting that Diesel fuel is my area is about $ 0.50 cheaper per gallon than gasoline. It used to be that Diesel was always a bit more expensive that gasoline. Good thing for the consumers as the cost to transport goods will not be hit as hard if Diesel was at the same ratio to gasoline before the price hikes.

I will be interested to hear the oil company profits at the end of the year.

JamesO
 

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yes, that's one of the problems with veggie oil.

anyone who cooks will be familliar with a process known as "purifying" or "clearing" butter.

clear butter has all of the solids removed, making a higher temp oil.

well, with biodiesel you are essentially removing the solids, (glycerin) making it burn clean at high temps, and making have less tendancy to solidify, ending up with something like "clear" vegetable oil.

adding about 10-20% of real diesel will make it solidify even less.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah the whole concept is insanely cool. And I think I'm going to really look into it not that I have a good job and a semi-steady flow of cash.

Hopefully if I get into it I can find someone who can provide me with a schematic or directions to build one of those processors so I don't have to do it the old fashioned way. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but if I plan on making this my source of fuel, it'll pay off in the long run because I won't have to spend so much time working on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Maybe that was a link that didn't quite make it in?

Thanks Walt, I kind of expected you'd be the guy to go to about anything automotive :smile:
 

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i think it is a link that didn't make it in.

however, until he posts the link again, you might want to check out the gobiodiesel.org site.

they have a ton of details about how to build it yourself.

if you want a fast rundown, here's what you'll need.

2 large tanks. they have to be solvent proof. like, stainless steel or polypropelene.

1 explosion proof pump. it has to be explosion proof to pump volatile fuel. you can use a hand pump.

a method of agitation. this is often accomplished by continuously running the pump during the 1 or 2 hour heating cycle.

a heater, capable of heating the oil to 100 or 110 F and keep it there for 1 or 2 hours. alot of people use the heating element out of a hot water heater.

a supplier for methanol.

a buyer for your glycerin. (great for making soap)

a supplier of raw waste vegetable oil.

many many storage tanks, like the kind they used for house heating oil.

the entire set up can cost any amount of money, depending on how complicated you want to make it.

you could have a free set up, and still be productive, if you know how to work alot of the parts yourself.

the guy i work for, spent a little too much, buying a super nice pump, 3 really nice tanks, and racks for them, a bunch of heaters, a controller for those heaters, and alot of tubing.

there are other guys i know of who have set theirs up for almost free, and have more or less as efficient of a set up.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'll probably go to a scrapyard for the heater and the pump- a car fuel pump would do nicely, though I'd probably need a 12-volt mains for it.
 
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