Does ion exchange beads need methanol to work properly? Should methanol be removed before or after ion exchange towers?
Yes. But not much. 1-4% works best.
If you exceed 4%, the beads may not work as well as having too much methanol can carry the soaps & glycerin right on past the beads and out the other end.
It's the methanol that transfers the soaps and glycerol off of the Biodiesel and into the bead making the ion exchange process possible.
Purolite & Amberlite absolutely need a little methanol for the soap to permeate the bead.
Thermax, not so much (because it's porous).
But yes, having a little methanol in the fuel (not much--that 1-4%) is what makes it possible for the beads to work right.
Greg from Arbor hopefully will chime in & explain it in better detail than I can. He's the one that taught me about why having a little methanol present is so important.
On the other hand hardwood sawdust drywash works so well why don't you try that? I made bio napalm from high titrating oil; it set to gelly as it cooled. Without doing a soap test I would hazard a guess that it was pretty high in soap content! One pass through mahogany sawdust and it was liquid and clear when cold. Again no figures but not Gelly seems like a real improvement to me.
mathematical elegance -- desired result achieved with minimal complication
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