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proof-read my system and results?
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Background:
Me: book strong but experience poor. Smile this is my first batch after years of planning and 6 months of building.

Graham Leming one day (GL-1) 135L processor with a jet mixer/methoxide inductor.
De-watered waste veggie oil (WVO).
1.9 WVO titration.
Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) catalyst.
3/27 test passed.
Whole batch De-meth (WBD).
Drain glycerin and biodiesel de-meth. total 10-12 liters methanol recaptured.
7 days settling in dedicated tank.

Now here's my problem: I built a soda keg wood chip gravity fed with Aspen shavings that I got from a local pet store. My soap test kit is in the mail, but I've been doing "50/50 shake me up" tests with water and finished fuel. I figure this is a good ball-park test to see if I'm going in the right direction. I've passed the fuel through the chips 4 times now and each time the water under the fuel was getting clearer. But on the last test it was like I went completely backwards and got a cloudy mess that looks like the first pass.

Here's a series of pictures of the 50/50 tests.
1st pass:


2nd pass:


3rd pass:


I didn't get a pic of the 4th pass through the filter, but it looks like the first. I thought I was getting somewhere, but now I'm confused.

Questions:
1. Is the 50/50 test totally inaccurate?
2. Can the wood chips emit the soaps on subsequent passes?
3. Is Aspen a poor choice for hard wood medium?

Immediate plans:
1. I have a 2nd soda keg, and I'm going to build it up and put it in series with the first one.
2. My soap test kit should be here this week so I can get some definitive measurements on soap content.
3. I'm going to try hemlock in the 2nd keg.

Here's the filter set-up. Since this picture was taken, I added a diptube to the bottom tank and a 2nd input to the transfer pump so I could recycle the fuel through the dry filter soda keg. And I fixed the leak in the keg so I no longer need the bucket to catch the seeping fuel.

-KM

 
Location: Portland, OR | Registered: April 04, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The photos show a clear separation of three components: biodiesel on top; soapy water on the bottom; and under-reacted mono- and di-glycerides mixed with water in the center.

If this analysis is correct, then your fuel is under-reacted. You should do a 3/27 test on your fuel to be sure the reaction is complete before you begin soap removal.

The reduction in color of all three photos suggests the soap removal step is working OK.

I think if you fix the reaction, the soap removal step will work well.

Just one theory that satisfies your criteria, there are probably many others.
 
Location: Illinois | Registered: February 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks producer.

I must be doing my 3/27 test wrong because I didn't get any dropout on all the tests I did. The only thing that might have made it bad was that I warmed the methanol up to 70F inside, then brought it outside to the freezing shed to do the test. Maybe it cooled to much sitting there and gave me a false positive? Next time I'll do the test completely in the house.

Here's a photo of my 4th pass of the fuel through the wood chips. Seemingly going backwards.



I know you've all seen this type of footage before, but I thought it was a cool looking little clip:
YouTube Video
 
Location: Portland, OR | Registered: April 04, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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cooling the 3/27 could give you a false fail, too warm a false pass. your third sample looks great, why send it through the shavings again? looks to me that the fist sample is boidiesel on top, biodiesel soap and water bubbles in the middle and soapy water on the bottom, notice the second picture does not have that middle layer, an indication that you have removed more of the soap.


" 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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So I watched another video on youtube, read the instructions again, and brought my 3/27 test in the house. I did 3 tests on my finished fuel and didn't get any dropout in any of them. The temperature varied from 18.9 - 21.0 C during the testing. After 4 hrs some of the methanol had evaporated away and I started to see some darker fluid at the bottom. 15 hrs later half of the methanol was gone and there was a large amount of dropout. I only assume that is normal.

I just keep running the fuel through the chips to see what happens. The water again looks clear, but not crystal clear like in the video on youtube for the 50/50 test. http://youtu.be/UDYAuA8ZjYg

Should have my Bromophenol Blue this week to do a qualitative soap test. I'm so ready to try this fuel in my truck!

-Kevin
 
Location: Portland, OR | Registered: April 04, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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OK. I finally got my soap test kit and came up with 15.2 ppm of soap. I thought I was doing it wrong, so I started over 3 times with 3 samples of fuel and got the same results every time. It only took 3-5 drops of .01% hydrochloric acid to turn the bromophenol blue to yellow. I'm going to assume that my wood chip setup works.

Now I'm going to test some freshly settled fuel before settling and (hopefully) get a good "before" soap content. I'm hoping for some, but not a ton of soap. I'd be happy with 300-400ppm before filtering and <100 after one pass.

Thanks for all the help!

The final moment came last night and I added 19 gallons of homemade fuel to about 7 gallons in the tank of B50. No problems at all. (so far) but big smiles from me.

-kevin
 
Location: Portland, OR | Registered: April 04, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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I'm feeling better about my soap content. I did a test on a batch that I just loaded into the filter system and after settling and before woodchip filtering it has a soap content of 426ppm.

-kevin
 
Location: Portland, OR | Registered: April 04, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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