I have a flat bottomed drum already insulated with a stand, drain ,and a heating element . Unfortunately the lid doen't fit tight so I might have to make one. How do I capture the vapors ? It seems like I would have to use vacuum ,even if its slight to draw any vapors into some sort of condenser. Maybe a drum is too wide ,and something tall and narrow would be better. I'm tossing some ideas around so I can make something that'll work from day one , and not something that I would be continously improvising to get it to work right,like some other projects of mine.
I know this looks real redneck crude, but I laugh every time I run it.
It works fantastic!
There is a PID/SSR controler for the head temp, a 5500W(220V) heater element at 110V(1375W)cycled by the PID.
The radiator fan comes on about 125F and seldom runs only for a few seconds.
Always 95-100% pure methanol after about 14 hrs. I get about 6 gal. from 30 gal. of glycerin.
When the flow stops I switch the catch can and bypass the PID and let it push whatever methanol is left, water and all to finish it off.
The still in operation.
The PID and 12V battery for the fan are inside.
This is what I made for the head - it seems to act as a reflux for the water
The key is to keep the vapor pressure lower in the condenser than in the reactor which is done by a temperature differential.
The vacuum just lowers the temperature required for the methanol to boil. Your barrel will probably be fine with a venturi style vacuum, but would not be safe with the lower pressures generated by a mechanical vacuum pump.
A sealed system is best and safest.
A very slight vacuum will collapse a 55 gallon drum, unless your vessel is totally sealed methanol vapor will be escaping from the vessel looking for an ignition source or poisoning you.
Bob,Kevin and I were up to your place back in January, couldn't quite figure out that set-up. Of course (don't LAUGH) it would help if we understood the word "reflux".
Keelec, again I'm not clear here either.Any pics?
Reflux is when you have something in a column, like marbles or stainless pot scrubbers, above the pot that is kept warm enough for methanol to remain vaporized but cool enough for water to condense on and drop back into the pot.
This is a reflux still the column is full of marbles, a PID with a thermocouple at the top of the column keeps the temperature in the right range.
IMO Moonshine Still has got to be the best places on the Web to learn about stills, both pot and reflux. They also go into great detail on how to build either type. I use a water heater as a pot still with a slight reflux due to the upgrade in the condensing tube. It does what I want it to do. Of course ain't none going to be as pretty as Fab's (a real piece of art)
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- on 5 continents helping people make & sell soap from the Biodiesel Glycerine.
Oh ahh,there's some info I can use.
Also check out www.homedistiller.org lots of good info there.
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I'm not sure of the maximum pressures generated by a venturi vacuum. As mentioned, be careful with a barrel processor.
The Venturi is what makes your carburetor work... And commonly used in Chemistry labs using running water to create the vacuum.
Graham Laming uses a venturi based on the circulation of his oil which allows the system to be reasonably well contained with no vacuum pump to suck in the vapors, and serves as a dual purpose to create a vacuum during distillation, and to add methanol slowly during processing.
I have done a little reading on the GL processor,very interesting system. All I think of when I hear of a venturi ,are 2 cones tip to tip that cause liquids to turn to vapor.
The way I see it is I can use the drum and use a venturi at the top on the vapor exit line . The ventura should create vacuum enough the help pull methanol vapors out of the drum and maybe drop the boiling temp of the methanol.
And maybe create sufficient vacuum to colapse the drum.
Ever consider that a reflux condenser open to the atmosphere will pick up a lot of water?
Methanol is very hygroscopic, so is NaOH. Water is the enemy in biodiesel synthesis, at both stages. A drying tube would probably make a difference. Has anyone tried using their stills to remove water from the starting yellow grease before they begin? How about removing the methanol and water after the first esterification stage. Start with fresh dry methanol for the transesterification, perhaps even repeating.
The top of my reactor can be removed to allow water to vaporize out,and I let the heating element run constant . This gets the wvo up to 220 F ,plus I circulate every couple of hours. It might be possible to use an enclosed still to dewater wvo. I've been able to demeth and dewater my glycerin that way so I can't see why it wouldn't work for wvo. I've had instances where my recovered methanol was almost 10% water . My methanol still is an enclosed system ,though ,so I can capture the methanol. For dewatering wvo it could be open to the atmosphere so the water vapor can vent out.
Really great job with the reflux still. Looks amazing.
Im trying to build a similar unit and had some questions.
Whats the volume on your unit.
Im planning on doing a 300 gal still.
But i need some help with the column size.
Diameter, Height, etc.
Hope you can help me.
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