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Ten Most Common Ways to Screw-Up Making BD.

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August 23, 2009, 07:00 PM
john galt
Ten Most Common Ways to Screw-Up Making BD.
One way is using wet untested feedstock oil.

Incorrect titration is another.

any others?



August 23, 2009, 09:40 PM
Double D
I think your number 1 is the top nine reasons.

Number two is trying to transesterify high titrating oil.
Number three is not titrating at all.
August 23, 2009, 11:58 PM
Graydon Blair
I'd second that.
Wet oil is the absolute worst...

But, since we're playing
1. Using oil that is too wet
- Oil water content should be 1500 PPM (0.15%) or lower
2. Using oil that titrates too high
- Anything over a 6 using NaOH based titration can be a pain
3. Not mixing oil/catalyst/methanol long enough
- Depends on reactor, but at least 2-3 hours is standard practice
4. Not heating up oil hot enough or too hot
- Heat should be between 130-140 deg.
- Too hot may boil off methanol, too cold may not allow the reaction to happen in a timely manner
5. Using methanol that isn't pure or catalyst that has gone bad (carbonated)
- Methanol should be at least 99.5% pure for mixing catalyst
- If catalyst has chunks in it, throw it out. It's carbonated (mixed with the air)
6. Not measuring correctly & also not performing any tests before progressing
- Can lead to not adding enough or adding way too much
- Washing a batch that doesn't pass 3/27's can lead to emulsions
- M
aking Bio w/o titrating can lead to issues as well
7. Not adding enough catalyst because a titration wasn't done right
- Leads to under-reacted fuel, 3/27 will indicate if conversion has occurred or not
8. Referring to Journey To Forever for most Biodiesel recipes (especially acid esterification)
- Most information found there is terribly outdated and doesn't ever seem to be updated
- The Foolproof Acid method there is riddled with errors
9. Not mixing oil long enough when doing acid esterification
- 6 hours of mixing is usually a good minimum, the longer the better
10. Not being patient enough and washing too fast, not draining off all the glycerin, or trying to use the fuel before it's been completed
- Add the methanol too fast and it might not mix properly
- Shut the pump down too soon and full reactions may not occur
- Draining glycerin too soon may lead to additional glycerin falling out later
- Wash the fuel too aggressively and you'll get emulsions
- Attempting to dry fuel not properly washed can lead to soap ending up in finished fuel
- And on and on and on....be patient, it pays off in the end.

I still say 90% of the problems I hear about from customers can be attributed to #1, #1, and #1.
Water, water, water....it's a killer to the reaction.

OK, that's my $0.02 cents.




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August 24, 2009, 10:53 AM
TDIguy2
How about using the wrong base amount of reactant?

My first two batches were messed up by using 3g as the base amount(NaOH) rather than 4.5 or 5. In both cases they did not pass the 3/27 and then I added too much NaOH during the reprocessing... and then I had glop. I believe I got the 3g number from the JTF site or some other website.
July 07, 2010, 05:34 AM
Bananaman
I am on batch number four of 150 litres, the first two I decanted and gave up; the next one seemed ok so I filtered it through Oak kiln dried saw dust left for a week and filtered through first a 10 micron sock then under pressure through a 10 micron pump system hey presto.... it ran the car. The car did not like to start from cold ie 15 secs of turning the key white smoke. Once started the car ran a dream. I then re-brewed the bad batches adding a little more lye in 10% by volume Meth and hey the bad batches came back to life. I tried to wet wash one ............Mistake chicken soup but thanks to a passage from Graydon used salt water and recovered it. Back through the oak and used it all. I was still not convinced I had complete conversion. I am no chemist so quality tests are does the car run well?

I then realised that the heater was not getting higher than 54 degrees centrigrade, so foolishly took off the thermostat on my emersion and reached 60 Smile, I pump compressed air through my brew to agitate it and this does have a cooling effect but at 60 degrees less than before. I mixed the methoxide one quarter at a time into the brew mixing vigorously (compressed air) re-heated back to sixty degrees then repeated this process until all mixed together. I left the mix for one hour of compressed air agitation. Switched off and went home. Next day a perfect separation and amazingly low viscocity and 'Apple cider' colour and beautiful glycerin at the bottom. Its presently sat in oak awaiting filtering...............I think I have cracked the method using effectively home made equipment. I agree there are many pitfalls but to me the temp was the main issue also the agitation method and patently titration is mega-important. If there is lots of white scummy soap at the top.....yes I have had that on batch two. Scoop out and add more lye maybe 1 gram per litre and another 10% by volume Methanol it brings the batch back to useable. I nearly gave up but hours of study on the internet has helped and Graydon is an incredibly erudite Bio-diesel font of knowledge.

I am now looking for a thermostat controlled 60 degree plus emersion heater any suggestions

Regards

Bananaman
ps some words in English are different to those in American ie Color Colour etc
July 13, 2010, 05:07 PM
Orange vito
Not listening to those who know more than you do and buying a ready made pile of _ _ _ _ _ _ (enter own words)!

Then making glop......

Then making thinner glop while trying to rescue the glop.....

Then building a GL style reactor and making good fuel EVERY time while using the shop bought pile of........as a shelf to store cubies on!! Big Grin
July 14, 2010, 04:33 PM
taralec
quote:
Originally posted by Bananaman:
I am on batch number four of 150 litres, the first two I decanted and gave up; the next one seemed ok so I filtered it through Oak kiln dried saw dust left for a week and filtered through first a 10 micron sock then under pressure through a 10 micron pump system hey presto.... it ran the car. The car did not like to start from cold ie 15 secs of turning the key white smoke. Once started the car ran a dream. I then re-brewed the bad batches adding a little more lye in 10% by volume Meth and hey the bad batches came back to life. I tried to wet wash one ............Mistake chicken soup but thanks to a passage from Graydon used salt water and recovered it. Back through the oak and used it all. I was still not convinced I had complete conversion. I am no chemist so quality tests are does the car run well?

I then realised that the heater was not getting higher than 54 degrees centrigrade, so foolishly took off the thermostat on my emersion and reached 60 Smile, I pump compressed air through my brew to agitate it and this does have a cooling effect but at 60 degrees less than before. I mixed the methoxide one quarter at a time into the brew mixing vigorously (compressed air) re-heated back to sixty degrees then repeated this process until all mixed together. I left the mix for one hour of compressed air agitation. Switched off and went home. Next day a perfect separation and amazingly low viscocity and 'Apple cider' colour and beautiful glycerin at the bottom. Its presently sat in oak awaiting filtering...............I think I have cracked the method using effectively home made equipment. I agree there are many pitfalls but to me the temp was the main issue also the agitation method and patently titration is mega-important. If there is lots of white scummy soap at the top.....yes I have had that on batch two. Scoop out and add more lye maybe 1 gram per litre and another 10% by volume Methanol it brings the batch back to useable. I nearly gave up but hours of study on the internet has helped and Graydon is an incredibly erudite Bio-diesel font of knowledge.

I am now looking for a thermostat controlled 60 degree plus emersion heater any suggestions

Regards

Bananaman
ps some words in English are different to those in American ie Color Colour etc


Standard water heater (immersion type)in the UK is set for 60 c max-I think you are making it hard for yourself trying to mix with compressed air-compressed air is nearly always wet-water is a big killer to the esterification process-there also must be a lot of methanol being lost and that amount of vapour is both flammable and toxic-I would use a pump for mixing,far safer
July 15, 2010, 07:15 AM
dualfuel
The number one way to screw up your fuel is to not visually inspect the oil before you put it into the processor.
From the Graydon has pretty much hit the highlights.
If you're a noob or desperate, throw away or set aside oil that isn't transparent or translucent. Opaque oil goes to the bears.

Mrs DualFuel is a Chemical Engineer and she and I went through the chemistry and lab procedures years ago. What I found was that if your oil is clear, you don't have to be too precise in measuring the amount of lye that goes into the methanol. The bigger the batch the bigger the error can be.

If you don't have an excellent instinct for making fuel, then simply don't use anything but clear filtered ZTF oil.
If you don't have any instruments then that ZTF oil better be hot enough to make the inside of your wrist uncomfortable when you place it against the processor.
My most common screw ups...
1. wet oil, or oil that has a white layer on the bottom, or isn't see-through.
2. Not a hot enough fire in the processor.
3. Not letting all the glycerine settle. It takes about 6 weeks to get all the glycerine out! (draining every day)
4. Not enough wash water
5. No sun

DF


"I don't work with collectives. I don't consult, I don't co-operate, I don't collaborate."
Howard Roark
July 18, 2010, 08:43 PM
Hamlin205
I'm sure most of you already know, as usual I found out the hard way !!!
Amazing how 4 tiny drops of Phenol can make a big difference !!!!
It has a shelf life. Make sure you don't buy too much before you need it.
Old Phenol caused my titration to go up. I didn't question because I recently added some
less than premier sources of WVO.
regards to all !!
Tom


1999 K3500 Dually with a new AMG 6.5TD turned up a bit by John Kennedy
Chevy DMax Totaled thanks to a 20 year old in a Mustang
Mercedes 300CDT
John Deere
On B99.?
July 19, 2010, 05:00 PM
taralec
quote:
Originally posted by Hamlin205:
I'm sure most of you already know, as usual I found out the hard way !!!
Amazing how 4 tiny drops of Phenol can make a big difference !!!!
It has a shelf life. Make sure you don't buy too much before you need it.
Old Phenol caused my titration to go up. I didn't question because I recently added some
less than premier sources of WVO.
regards to all !!
Tom


Try Tumeric far cheaper,and non toxic,available anywhere that sells spices etc-just put a teaspoon full in some IPA-stir thoroughly to extract the yellow dye and strain into your indicator bottle-keeps for ages-works brilliantly.
December 12, 2010, 01:52 AM
cooper_farm
Heres a funny one that i learned the hard way.

never leave the bottom drain on your wash tank barely cracked and go inside for the night.

it was raining that night and i was pretty tired. bad move, but i'm stilll learning!
December 12, 2010, 08:42 AM
heatbeater
quote:
9. Not mixing oil long enough when doing acid esterification
- 6 hours of mixing is usually a good minimum, the longer the better

I haven't got my AE process down pat,but I thought I read a post not to long ago that it's better to mix a little in the beginning and then let the acid work without mixing. I got the impression you can over mix and AE won't work. I tend to think I over mix which leads to poor results ,but I'll have to keep better notes.
I know one thing ,and that's don't use too much acid.
December 12, 2010, 12:38 PM
Biotom
mixing time depends on batch size and pump capacity. 15 - 20 minutes with the blue pump on a 160 ltr batch is more than enough time. Having said that, High temp AE requires constant mixing to keep the methanol mixed in (it wants to boil off in this process) Tom


" 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.
December 13, 2010, 08:03 PM
heatbeater
quote:
(it wants to boil off in this process) Tom

I had problems when I first started doing AE with the methanol boiling off. Even a reactor lid vent going outside on a windy day could pull enough methanol out to hinder the reaction. I've had to limit the size of the vent to only a 1/4".
December 23, 2010, 03:05 PM
dkenny
gee..

this is about mistakes..can't be we don't make those Wink
they say confession is good for the soul..

what about measuring the oil volume WRONG! as in 200l isn't 230l..or 230l also isn't 200l.
yes I made lots of mistakes learning..

mixing during AE..if you not using high temp AE..mixing is not needed..keep the batch warm is..
I agree on the JTF acid foolproof..big mistake..

too much oil/methanol/caustic to fit in the container..we all know an 80 gallon water heater does actually hold 80 gallons..more 70ish..applies to all sizes.

forgetting to turn off the water while filling for washing..If my shed ever catches on fire..RUN!!!it has the prettiest oil/bio/gly soaked floor..now water proof..
don't the number of time I made this mistake..I won't tell.. on the bright side..I don't have to worry about wood rotting from split water anymore..Wink

that's a start..

-dkenny


'84 bluebird school bus, DD8.2L turbo( 4/2011, the bus tranny has died..Frown 8.23.11 bus driven to scrap yard Frown )
2006 Jeep Liberty CRD Smile - the wife's
99 dodge 2500 5.9l 24v..-mine Smile
everything run B100 when its warm enough Smile
December 28, 2010, 11:58 PM
dckfly
Refering to Graydons list...I'm probably guilty of most these plus trying to run B100 a little to late into the winter season. While this is not a production issue it still results in one large headache.


Dana Knight "dckfly"
Boulder, CO

Chevy Silverado Duramax
3 VW TDI (wife and friends)
January 14, 2011, 11:06 AM
Doug Weiner
Graydon covered the biggies, but here are a few more:

1) Having a Venturi fail, so instead of sucking in air or methanol, it pumps bio/oil out over the floor.
2) Not testing for 3/27 and just forging ahead because "it looks clear"
3) Using recovered Methanol and not testing it for purity. Then use this untested Methanol SOLEY to make your next batch. (that was only my first few batches.)
4) Making resin towers out of PVC pipe, having them crack and spilling bio all over the floor.

Doug

PS. My shop vac looks like something from the movie "Wall-E" with the amount of degradation caused by vacuuming up all the bio diesel/oil I have spilled over the last 2 years. Also, I must have gone through 6 pairs of shoes over the last 2 years.
March 25, 2011, 09:36 AM
Samuel
quote:
Originally posted by Graydon Blair:
I'd second that.
Wet oil is the absolute worst...


4. Not heating up oil hot enough or too hot
- Heat should be between 130-140 deg.
5. Using methanol that isn't pure or catalyst that has gone bad (carbonated)
- Methanol should be at least 99.5% pure for mixing catalyst

- If catalyst has chunks in it, throw it out. It's carbonated (mixed with the air)



10. Not being patient enough and washing too fast, not draining off all the glycerin, or trying to use the fuel before it's been completed
- Add the methanol too fast and it might not mix properly

OK, that's my $0.02 cents.


1. Good Advice
2. Good Advice
3. Good Advice
4. If your equipment (pressure tank or pump) can handle the heat and pressure the more heat the better up to 300 degrees F Just make sure your methanol is contained and doesn't evaporate.

5. Your methanol does not have to be pure and can be contaminated with various chemicals
below 90%percent. Some types of Waste methanol can be used if you have a cheap source.
The important thing is not to have more than half of a percent water (no water is best) and not have any chemicals that interferes with the process or that remains in the bio-diesel after washing and drying unless its not harmful for your motor.

6. Good Advice
7. Good Advice
8. Good Advice
9. Good Advice
10. No comment



Now my Advice is NO WATER no Water NO WATER!!!
And make sure there are no chemicals or anything for that matter which reacts with your NaOH acid whichever process you are using.


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May 28, 2012, 03:40 AM
maroulla
Hello ,
I am new at this so i could really use your help in biodiesel transesterification reaction.
I use SVO and i added methanol 6:1 ration of methanol to oil. however the KOH content was 0.5% the reaction was performed under 120 F . I couldn't get any biodisel .
Can i know a small experiment that will lead to biodisel separation with exact amount of methanol and catalyst with reaction time.
Thank you so much
Maroulla


maroulla el khoury
May 28, 2012, 07:28 AM
RickDaTech
quote:
Originally posted by maroulla:
Hello ,
I am new at this so i could really use your help in biodiesel transesterification reaction.
I use SVO and i added methanol 6:1 ration of methanol to oil. however the KOH content was 0.5% the reaction was performed under 120 F . I couldn't get any biodisel .
Can i know a small experiment that will lead to biodisel separation with exact amount of methanol and catalyst with reaction time.
Thank you so much
Maroulla


Did you titrate and test your oil for water before mixing?

If you processing new, unused oil in your small experiment, then try http://kitchen-biodiesel.com/


Rick





www.Make-Biodiesel.org