Here in Ireland many homebrewers face problems collecting sufficient WVO due to a number of factors.
Increasing bureaucracy surrounding the collection of waste oil.
Competition by commercial collectors.
Restaurants going out of business because of the recession/depression.
Remaining restaurants using less oil and using it for longer.
As a result I have been concentrating my efforts in recent years to finding ways of using feedstocks that in previous years homebrewers would not have bothered with, animal fats, high titration oils etc.
Recently I helped a medium sized biodiesel producer with an aspect of his process that I think might be of help to us all. Like many of us do,this producer put his glycerol into a settling tank for a few weeks. Once settled the glycerol could be drawn off from the bottom of the tank and a thin clear liquid could be siphoned off the top. This liquid is a mixture of biodiesel, unconverted oil and methanol. In the past this producer simply added this liquid to his WVO and reprocessed it but we decided to try a different less wastefull approach.
Once a 100 litres of this liquid had been collected it was transferred to the processor and mixed thoroughly. A small 300ml sample was taken and weighed. The sample was heated to 70°C and held there until bubbling stopped. The sample was weighed again and I calculated that 7% of the 100 litres was methanol.
I cooled the sample to 20°C and performed a 30/270 ( a special version of the tester with a 10ml syringe) test to it . From this I calculated that approximately 70% of the sample was already converted into biodiesel. Therefore only 28 litres of the 100 litres was low titration vegetable oil. I processed it with 250gms of KOH and only 1 litre of methanol ( just enough to dissolve the KOH).
The result was almost a 100 litres of high quality biodiesel for a tiny amount of chemicals.
For those of you dont already settle your glycerol, a settlement tank is very easy to set up. Cut the bottom out of a 200 litre steel oildrum. Fit a 2" nipple and a 2" lever valve to the 2" outlet of the drum. Support the drum ,valve to the bottom ,on a wooden frame or some concrete blocks and make a plywood lid for the top. In this way you can recover 10 - 20% of your waste product.
Just a follow up on settlement tanks. The tank should be placed in a very well ventilated area to avoid buildup of methanol vapours and should not be in full sun.
Quiet on here isn't it,I wonder why,enough said.!
Not exactly in keeping with this thread (sorry IMB) but just a quick reply on oil availability in the UK.
If my situation is similar to other home brewers in the UK and I think it is,we are drowning in the stuff over here.
Most smaller commercial concerns are reduced to selling their bio as heating oil (via a loophole in regulations) since the government took away the green fuel supplement.
The "trade price" of used oil is sort of controlled by the price that people like Bookers give for it,which at present is 25p/litre.
Selling price on e-bay has reduced in the last 18 months from an average of 60p/litre to 40p/litre.
New oil in some trade places over in west yorks has reduced to £13.65/20 litres.
Apparently there is a worldwide "glut" of grain,including rapeseed.
Pump prices are at their lowest for a while,cheapest in York for diesel is £1.27/litre at the moment.
Some homebrewers around here pay nothing for their oil,I know one that has over 3000 litres in stock.
Surely this"economic"situation will eventually filter it's way over to southern Ireland.I really feel for you guys over there.
Further to the above,
Apparantly Rape seed is cheaper than it has been for years,a farmer I was talking to two days ago has 70 tons of it in storage,he can't get the correct price for it.As the price of oil reduces you lads over there need to encourage your suppliers,landlords etc to change their oil twice as often,then there would be more around for homebrewers.
Hi Dgs it's not that there isn't oil out there, there's tonnes of it, it's just that they are afraid to give it to us. We don't have the simple system with WTN's etc, that you guys have over there.
Just a follow up on IMB's settlement tank idea.
My bad oil is mixed with the glycerol that has been used to pre-wash. It is heated to @ 60 degs with the M67 and pumped into
a 1000 litre conical. It is left to settle 2 to 3 days,the glycerol is run into cubies and the oil goes into storage.
No matter how long the glycerol is in the 1000 litre tank,as soon as it is in the cubie, within hours it will have that typical oil layer on the top.I know this is stupid but it's almost as if it knows when it's in the cubie and starts to separate! There is no temperature increase,it's almost as if the increased light is causing this.
Has this happened to anyone else?
Ive seen the effect your describe where a layer of bio/oil forms on top of glycerol that has already been settled. I think it is a matter of time. My glycerol would be in the settlement tank for 2 - 4 weeks before I drain it off for methanol recovery.
Ive also found that if you add water to glycerol, then it releases more Biodiesel/oil. Wesley explained this to me at the time, something about hydrogen bonding, Im afraid it went a bit over my head.
I think from your findings IMB,I will set up at least one 200 litre drum and let it settle.
Even though I have plenty of oil there is no point throwing any away.
We have a similar situation here in Oz.
There is a demand for the stuff from the oil collection cowboys but they burnt a lot of people when the price was high some years agomaking promises none of them delivered on and then leaving people high and dry. Most oil is available here for the asking. Also now the price has dropped and the cowboys are no longer interested in the small places again, it's easy to find supplies with these people. Funny thing is, You usually get a mountain of the stuff because they have it stacked up be cause the cowbows won't come get it!
I now have it better with oil than ever before. I have a supplier who forks a 1000L IBC into my trailer for me. No pumping and going from place to place, about an hour there and back and a bit of shooting the breeze with the guy when I'm there and thanks very much. Take the empty IBC back and get a full one. It's the best oil I have ever got in my 10 years in this circus as well.
They do give some oil to the cowboys but only because I can't take 4000L a week and they have to get rid of it somewhere. They do it as a last option because the guy that runs the place would prefer to smack the cowboys in the face than anything else. They have burnt him badly in the past and hates them with a passion. All of them. As such, there is always a spare ( at least) IBC there when I want it. More I want, happier they are! Every time I ring it's like " You sure you only want one?"
Some years ago I could have found a home for all this oil. Now there is only about 2 guys out of maybe 30 I knew that did oil/bio and those couple of guys ring me now and then asking if I want any of their excess they are trying to offload.
As far as extending oil, Over the years I have got some real slop and it always cleans up. Admittedly I don't titrate the stuff and it could be high but you can always mix it with better stuff if you are running short and want to make the most of what you have. I have found Heating and properly drying ( not just settling) gets a lot of what was fat to turn to liquid oil and the rank smells largely dissappears as well. You may get a lot of rubbish out of this oil which really isn't a big deal either but when I have tried for the hell of it to clean this stuff up, it always has.
Particularly with bio, if you are short of oil anything can be recovered.
IMB, did you do much more with pyrolising the engine oil to make that a fuel?
I haven't done anymore with it. No point atm with the plentiful supply of the WVO I'm getting which I can just filter and dry so much easier than cracking engine oil.
Hearing about plentiful wvo supplies in other countries makes me want to emigrate.
Here a restaurant has to obtain certificates for all of his wvo from a licensed collector. A wvo collection license can cost in excess of €10,000 and has to be renewed regularly. If a collector suspects a restaurant is giving or selling wvo to a non licensed person they will report the restaurant to the county council inspectors who will do an audit and may fine the restaurant.
I never went very far with pyrolizing motor oil. The small batches I did produced a reasonably good fuel but the energy cost was very high. I found that wmo, settled, filtered and blended with kerosene made an excellent heating fuel ( black gasoil) for a lot less trouble.
Back in the days when the price of fuel and WVO went through the roof, the cowboy collectors pulled much the same stunt. Told the restraunts that they could be fined for giving the oil to non licenced collectors ( which isn't true here) and generally put the wind up them to strong arm them into getting all the oil. They promised payment for the oil but as far as I have been able to tell from talking to a lot of people, I have yet to hear of ANYONE that did actually get paid.
My friend lives out in the country, borderline outback really where the poopulation is thin and distances to major towns are a 100+ KM and more. He would often go to these places to get what Oil he could as the bigger places in the towns were pretty much sewn up by the collectors. Sudddenly, the cowboys were putting the fear of god into all these outlying places and my mate was getting virtually nothing.
He didn't have to wait long for the tides to turn though. The price of oil went down, the collectors reniged on their payments and didn't come back. Good job really because from what my mate heard more than a few times, if anyone from those companies showed their faces there againn they would be greeted with the business end of a shotgun. When a lot of the restraunteurs rang about getting another pickup and their money for what had been collected, they were virtually abused and laughed at.
Subsequently all these places went back to ringing my mate to come get the oil with promises of life long commitment to him. The side effect was interesting in that in competing with one another, the cowboys had been promising the larger places in town higher payments against one another which again no one ever got. When work got around on the bush telegraph as it does, No one wanted anthing to do with these mongeral collectors and pretty much everyone large and small was ringing my mate and wanting to give him their oil.
He went from drought to flood as is always the way here in Oz. :0)
My mate had more oil that what he knew what to do with and started up a transport business with an old truck he had rebuilt years earlier and hung onto but rarely used. He was doing well with it and was mainly transporting farm machinery within the local area. Because he could undercut a lot of the larger transport companies on their rates because fuel cost wasn't an issue for him, he quickly went from startup to too much work and was making far more money than out of his other business he had for years.
I only came across your plastic cracking vid on YT again today. I thought it was oil you were doing but maybe I was confused with your main thing doing plastic. are you still doing that or have you also found that to be more effort than worthwhile?
Your setup was so much more organised than mine. I was doing it as basic as I could imagine but it still worked. I came to the same conclusion as you though with either plastic or oil that it haws to be a continous process than a batch to be worthwhile.
That said, I was also looking at some vids where mainly in asia they pyrolise Tyres and that all seems to be batch processes. Could be a lot to do with the availability and cost of fuel in these places as well as what I suspect is the low cost of labour.
I have such a huge source of plastic, old tyres and used engine oil in my fathers wrecking yard but unfortunately in first world countries it seems it just isn't worth the time and effort to recoup.
Maybe one day we'll look back and say " What the hell were we thinking back then?"
Here the commercial collectors concentrate their efforts in towns and cities. Its still possible to collect oil from restuarants and pubs in country areas. Mobile caterers can be a good source as some of these are not declaring their earnings and want the minimum of paper trail. Seasonal restuarants in holiday resorts often dont have a one year contract and are happy to give you their oil. In this country its hard but not impossible to get wvo.
My pyrolizing project was almost entirely about waste plastics. I did a few batches with wmo, crumb rubber and wmo/crumb rubber. In every case the yield was low and the waste product was really noxious. The waste product from the plastic is a valuable paraffin wax.
However I have agreed a deal to sell my research and pyrolyser to a company who is going to develop it commercially. I have agreed a confidentiality clause so cant really discuss the process in any detail.
Rapeseed oil prices still on a downward trend in UK.
Costco now down to £12.99 for 20 litres
Trade Price for a metric ton (1000 lit IBC ) @ £375
Used oil on e-bay @ 35p/litre.
I know it's good for us homebrewers but I like things to be stable, it just makes you wonder whats going to happen next.
Nice post, i will focusing on your posts.
Solvedrilling, the original cutting dryer supplier.
Some of the oil I collect is really bad stuff,mostly from pizza and kebab outlets. Unfortunatley I have been paying for most of this oil. I now have so much oil in stock I realised I need stop collecting the bad stuff. So as I go around my round I am telling these places it is my last call.
It's a bit of a relief to be honest.
However a proportion of the bad oil is free,so I got to thinking.
Bookers (wholesalers) offer a collection service and give WTN's and 20p/litre credit for their store.
I now send 200 litres back per go and get £40 credit which I spend on new oil.
Someone wants me to collect another 200 litres next week (foc) thats nearly another 60 litres of new oil.
Are there any Bookers Wholesalers in northern or southern Ireland?
This last week I took my credit note to Bookers Wholesale and duly collected my new oil. That was such a nice feeling. I already have another 200 litres for them to collect (horrible stuff, but didn't pay anything for it)
Unfortunatley the Mrs is going to commandeer the next credit note, so more new oil will have to wait.
Hmmm...how would one go about finding a local wholesaler to deal with?
I have a couple totes of stuff I was told was oil when it was frozen, but after thawing out, its still solid. So it needs to go...be great if I could somehow get credit for it toward the purchase of new oil (or anything profitable at all!).
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