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heating with alternative fuels.
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As Thierry pointed out the "biodiesel in Ireland" topic is not the place to discuss using fuels other than biodiesel so I am starting a new discussion. I sent this following post to Thierry as a reply to a private message but I thought it might be of interest to others.
imakebiodiesel

Posted February 28, 2011 05:43 AM Hide Post
Hello Thierry,
If you can collect enough WVO to make biodiesel it makes sense to use it in your car because of the high level of tax on Road fuel.
I have yet to see a drip type oil burner that I would leave unattended for more than about half an hour. At present I heat my home with an alaska burner in a boiler I designed and built my self. It runs for 20 hours a day and although it must be lit manually it can be switched off using a timer. It has 10kw output and heats 6 large radiators. My house is reasonably well insulated so this keeps the whole house at 20 degrees C. The alaska burner runs on yellow grease which is the semi solid fat that often comes with WVO and cannot be processed into biodiesel. It will also burn a percentage of my glycerol byproduct but I dont do that because I have other uses for my glycerol. The only processing involved in the yellow grease is to heat it to 50 degrees so that it is liquid and then pour it through a coarse sieve to remove any large particles of food, dirt etc. Essentially my heating costs nothing and involves 10 to 15 minutes attention each day.
I use the same burner inside a simple stove to heat my workshop. This one runs on WMO with no filtering or thinning with other fuels. The Wmo is only heated if the temperature falls below 5 degrees.
The alaska burner, other wise known as the M1941 tent heater insert, is a large vapourizing pot burner made for the US army as a temporary space heater and is simple , rugged and has no moving parts ie. soldier proof. With a few simple mods it will burn any liquid fuel cleanly and reliably. The US army are not using them any more, they need air conditioning in their tents these days, and they can be bought, brand new, from surplus dealers on ebay for about 40 dollars. They cost about 120 euro by the time they are shipped to Ireland. Check out item no 140469027122 on Ebay if you want to have a look at one.
If you want more output or more automatic control than an alaska burner can provide the the only approach that I can see is to upgrade wvo into a high spec fuel which will allow you to use it in a modern burner/boiler. Although this does not involve any complicated chemical reactions it will involve a fair amount of equipment. I use my biodiesel processor for the initial deacidifying and drying processes. The oil is then passed through a series of filter media. The clean dry neutralized oil is then tested for viscosity and flash point and additives are used to bring it to within spec.
I havnt priced a complete unit yet but It wont leave a lot of change out of 1500 euro. I dont want to disclose much about the actual process because I have not finished my research yet but I hope to have a full sized demonstrator up and running in the next few weeks. It would be this week but I have orders for 2 biodiesel processors which will need to be completed this week so things are a bit hectic at the moment.
You are most welcome to come down to have a look at my setup. If you want more info on the alaska burner look up " biodiesel for heating" on this forum. There are 3 discussions, "Military heaters on Ebay", "Alaska burner/boiler idea" and Alaska burner, made a start" . That should keep you reading for a couple of hours.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: imakebiodiesel,
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thierry, you sent me a pm today but I cant reply, some problem with the server, so ive posted my answer here, I hope you get it.

Posted March 03, 2011 07:19 AM Hide Post
So if I understand right, you are using the boiler/burner assembly to heat your house, you previously mentioned 6 radiators being hot from it and keeping your house at a lovely 20 degrees, that is impressive and gives me hope. I would like to use WMO in my newly acquired Alaska burner, it looks like, from your posts, i will need to use a dripfeed system to burn such fuel, although i would prefer using the control valve that comes with the burner. I guess I will have to experiment with different mixes.
Thierry

The control valve that comes with the burner can handle kerosene, diesel and biodiesel. With a modification to the restrictor port in the control valve it can handle blends of biodiesel and clean veg oil.
But if you want to use truly thick fuels like wvo, heated yellow grease or wmo you will have to use a peristaltic dosing pump either as a replacement for the control valve or to feed an independent drip feed. these pumps have a number of advantages, they can handle particles up to 3 mm with no trouble which saves a lot of filtering. they are totally reliable and consistent and they can be controlled by safety cutouts, making them much safer for long unattended burns.
I know its a long way but you should really come and have a look at my 2 different setups before you start to build your own.
John.
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi John, thank you for your reply and sharing your knowledge once again. I do indeed intend coming down to visit before i start building my own stove. At the moment I am gathering all the parts that I think I will need, I have a fair idea of what to get after seeing your many posts on this site on different threads. I am setting up oil collections also. I am finding it easier to get WMO than WVO. I have so far collected 500 litres of WMO and 200 litres of WVO. I hope to heat my home with the WMO and run my car (1998 golf TDI,mk4) with a mix of diesel and WVO filtered to 1 micron. I am looking forward to seeing your set up (end april when finished my studies). I am very conscious of the safety aspect as I do not want to burn my shed down, so will install thermostatically controlled shut down valves on the oil feed. I am also looking forward to discussing a couple of ideas for heat exchangers with you.
All the best
Thierry
 
Location: Galway | Registered: January 23, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi all, I have been thinking of getting an old regular house boiler (ususally fired by a riello or the like), put it up on legs, cut a circular hole out of the bottom of it and insert an Alaska burner that I would run on alternative fuels (WVO,WMO) so as to heat my home through the central heating system. Has anyone done this? If yes how is it working out? has anyone got any views/opinions on this potential heating system? My questions have more to do about the system of heating the water rather than the type of fuel used.
Thanks
 
Location: Galway | Registered: January 23, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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In many boilers the floor is part of the water jacket so it will be difficult to cut through. These boilers are designed for a very intense horizontal flame, Im not sure you will get much output from the alaska burner. In my boilers the heating surface is directly above and close to the top of the alaska burner.
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ive just come across a new source of fuel today that I had never thought of before. Every garage in the country regularly has to deal with people who either put petrol into their diesel cars or diesel into their petrol cars. The garage empties the tank and gets the car going again.
The fuel they drain out of the tanks is useless as road fuel but would run perfectly in a simple pot burner such as the alaska burner. A simple hydrometer could be used to test the fuel too see how much diesel or petrol was in it and it could be blended with wvo or wmo. At present garages just dump it into the waste oil to get rid of it.
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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The fuel they drain out of the tanks is useless as road fuel

Unless it's mixed with VO &/or BD.

I would never use salvaged diesel/petrol mix in ANY heating appliance used indoors. The vapours from the petrol component can be extremely explosive.



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The alaska burner control valve has a range of settings to include gasoline and diesel so it would burn petrol but I would agree that it is not safe to store petrol or any fuel with a high percentage of petrol indoors.
I would propose to test the fuel mixture with a hydrometer to determine how much petrol it contains. The specific gravity of petrol is .75 and diesel is .90. A mixture of 33% petrol would measure.85 and a mixture of 66% petrol would measure .80. Armed with this information you could blend the fuel with wvo or biodiesel untill you had less than 10% petrol.
If you dont have a hydrometer an even simpler method is to weigh one litre of the mixture. A litre of diesel would weigh 900gms and a litre of pure petrol would weigh 750gms.
It seems a shame that perfectly usable fuel is being dumped when we can make use of it. The guy who tipped me off about this collects 75 litres (16 gallons) every week from one garage!

This message has been edited. Last edited by: imakebiodiesel,
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ive just worked an easy way to blend salvage petrol/diesel mix with biodiesel. If we accept that 10% petrol is ok,( it may not be for some engines).
Weigh out a litre of the mixture and lets call this amount X grams.
The formula is (900 - X) divided by 1.5 = percentage of petrol.
Lets say the result is 57%, round it up to the nearest 10, ie 60%.
You will need to blend 1 part mixture with 6 parts biodiesel to get a fuel with less than 10% petrol.
If the mixture was 20% petrol you would need 1 part mixture to 2 parts biodiesel.

I based this calculation on the diesel in my area weighs 900gms per litre and petrol weighs 750 gms per litre. Before doing any blending it would be worth checking that these fuels weigh the same in your part of the world.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: imakebiodiesel,
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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At last, ive finished the black diesel processor. Twice last week I had to steal valves and pumps off it to finish biodiesel processors for customers but now its complete. I am going to start my first 150 litre batch of wmo this week. I should have 180 litres of black diesel ready for use by the weekend. I have a spare Riello 40 burner that I will set up so that I can do some test burns.
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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came across this on ebay thought you might be interested:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Black-Di...&hash=item3a646db3b7
 
Location: County down, Northern Ireland | Registered: August 10, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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what is the additive than is mixed into the wmo? and at what ratio.


" I don't know what I don't know until I know"
1994 GMC 6.5 Tubo 2005 Dodge ram 3500, 3 VW's 2000, 2002, 2005.
 
Location: Manitoba Canada | Registered: March 24, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Ive come across Oil to fuel before, he has been working on this for years. His system concentrates on filtering and water removal, which I would agree are the most important issues, and I presume that his additives lower the viscosity and flash point. He mentions acidity but its not clear how is outfit neutralizes the wmo. Car engines and even heating burners will not run for long on acidic fuel.
The quality standards required for diesel engine fuel are very high and getting higher every year and Im not convinced that a fuel derived from wmo would ever meet those standards. Thats why I am setting my sights on a much lower standard, home heating oil. Lets face it, if your fuel caused damage to the nozzle and pump of a burner it could be repaired for about 100 euro. A car engine injection system is a different matter.
There are a lot of different mixtures and at the moment I am trying out several promising ones. The trick is to get the right balance of viscosity, flash point and cost. Solvents such as white spirit, toluene, dimethyl ether etc are very effective but are expensive and some carry health risks. Fuels such as petrol and kerosene work and are much easier to obtain. Once I settle on a mixture I intend to run a burner on it for a couple of months and then strip the burner to check its condition before recommending it to anyone.
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The absorbent polymer used in the oil to fuel unit is almost certainly sodium polyacrylate. it will absorb many times its own weight in water but not oil. Im not sure why he bothers to wash and reuse the filters, its bound to be a messy business and sodium polyacrylate is dirt cheap. Perhaps its because he does not want to reveal what is in the filter. If you want to experiment with these filters you can buy sodium polyacrylate in your local supermarket. Its the absorbent in disposable nappies ( diapers to our American members).
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My son Ruairi and I have been working on a science project that has yielded some interesting results. Our objective is to produce fuel oil from plastic waste. We put 500 grams of waste HDPE into a metal container. and heated it up on a gas cooker ring. At about 400 degrees C the plastic began to decompose into short chain hydrocarbons. The vapours were condensed by bubbling through a cold water bath and collected on the surface.
We got 450ml of oil from 500gms of plastic. The oil is semi solid like yellow grease and liquifies at 50 degrees C, Its flash point is 80 degrees which is about the same as kerosene.
His science teacher at school tried to test the oil for calorific value. The sample exploded in the crucible!
We are still some way off a viable home brew plastic to oil processor but it certainly has potential.
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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After putting out feelers to several local breakdown mechanics my first batch of salvage fuel arrived today. I immediately weighed 1 litre of it and it was exactly 800 gms. I applied the formula ( 840 - 800) divided by 1 = 40. So the mix contained 40% petrol. In order to have less than 10% petrol in the final blend I mixed 1 part of the salvage fuel with 4 parts biodiesel
Voila 40 litres of completely free fuel! The Felicia doesnt seem to mind the petrol at all in fact I cant notice any difference.
The mechanic who brought it was very pleased to have me take it. Up to now they would burn it in a barrel at the back of their workshop and they were worried that they might be prosecuted.
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I recieved a pm asking me to explain the way to work out the percentage of petrol in a mixture and I thought I would post it here.
weight of a litre of diesel minus the weight of a litre of mixture divided by the difference between the weight of diesel and petrol(gasoline) multiplied by 100.
So in my area diesel weighs 840gms/litre and petrol weighs 740gms/litre
My mixture weighs 800 gms/litre.

So the calculation worked out 840 - 800 divided by 100 multiplied by 100 =40%

I hope this is clear.
 
Location: Lismore Ireland | Registered: November 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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hi all, i had the privelige to visit imakebiodiesel yesterday and what a guy! really good insight into biodiesel, well worth the 4 hr drive, answered any and all questions, very helpful and a pleasure to listen too, highly recommend anyone thing of bio fuel to make the trip. really put the fire under me to start building a prossessor. i know i`m getting a little ahead of myself but i realised i have a 2000 litre steel pressure tank with domed ends (perfect for draining) which stands on its end on its own legs, made of heavy gauge steel perfect for welding. it has a few ports big enough to get your hand it. some ports are open so inside is a bit rusty, it was got for storing water but never used. anyway my question is does anyone know of a way of cleaning it out without cutting it open? it can be laid on its side and rolled around. actually now that i think of it could i use glycerol to clean it?
 
Location: meath/ cavan | Registered: April 17, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Glycerol won't dissolve rust but dilute acid will. Muriatic acid [hydrochloric acid] can be used. It's commonly sold as masonry cleaner or toilet bowl cleaner. Employ all normal safety precautions for using acid.



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Better to use Phosphoric acid, this will convert the rust (brown) to ferric phosphate (black) You can leave this in place as a further protection to further rusting, or rub off. Easier to do than rubbing off iron oxide. Some add a small percentage of oxalic acid as well. Jim.
 
Location: Cape Town | Registered: May 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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