This is now the final version of my Foolproof Room Temperature (FRT) method. It has been optimised for manufacture in an IBC - total volume 1080L.
Link to my website here.
It includes videos of the process, to fill in any gaps in the written method.
If you're doing titrations or heating your mixture you're wasting your time - both those are unnecessary.
If you have any comments or questions, please post them on my website. I won't be following up any comments on this site.
The reason simply is that my method overturns the status quo, and the result is a few bruised egos, that doesn't result in a quality dialogue. This shouldn't come as a surprise, of course - with two degrees in Chemistry and 30 years industrial experience (mostly in manufacturing), if I can't come up with a better method for making bio, who can?
Also, I don't have time to plough through chemistry questions from people with no formal qualifications in the area. This process involves concepts that are taught in Universities at 300 level - they are not simple concepts for the layman to understand.
My method has been written for the layman - you don't have to understand any chemistry to use it - just follow the instructions. Having said that, however, if you have any questions you can post them on my website and I'll answer them.
WOW! You have increased the KOH requirement from 15g KOH per litre of WVO to 20g KOH per litre of WVO!!
I see you took my 2017 test results that I posted on another forum to heart that showed this "foolproof" procedure would not make biodiesel with oil titrating 18 KOH when using "only" 15g KOH per litre of WVO.
You must be on a first name basis with your KOH supplier
It's an intriguing concept and logical; I have a minor in Chemistry and a year of Chemical Engineering courses under my belt, so you didn't lose me in the explanation. But I am curious what you have ended up doing with all the settled cement by-product? I mean, if you have a nice low spot in your yard you need filled, then great...or an endless stretch of sidewalk you need to slowly build...
Its already an issue with find a use or method of disposal for the glycerin byproduct, to then have another solid byproduct to be rid of just in exchange for titration testing and heating...
Fair question. I let it dry for a couple of days so it becomes semi-rigid, and then I just invert the drum onto a plastic sheet and it all falls out. Then I just let it dry for a few weeks - remember it contains mostly methanol - and just pick up the plastic and toss it in the bin. So 1000L of biodiesel generates about 20kg of solid waste. But I'll add another vid in the next couple of weeks for this process
The advantage of this method is that because you don't have to heat the oil then you can make the batches as big as you want. In my case it's 1000L at a time - a convenient size as IBCs are everywhere.
A Huge mistake in the instructions!!
It does make me smile that for whatever reason, you seem to need to continually remind everyone of what an intelligent, highly educated chap you are.
That is why I was really shocked to read in your instructions where you said;
"The Dr Pepper method is constrained in the amount of catalyst it can add because of the danger of promoting saponification. So the mixture needs to be heated (to 55 deg C)."
This statement is simply not correct. Everyone knows that there is no requirement to heat the oil before performing the reaction.
It is common knowledge that when performing a single or multiple stage base reaction, the reaction works just fine at ambient temperature as long as everything remains liquid.
I have told you this a number of times. Even your good friend WesleyB posted in a discussion about this method on the Australian biofuel forum;
"Well Tilly you're right. I reacted 380 milliliters Mazola new corn oil , titration number 0.13 with 100 milliliters methanol with 3.4 grams 85% potassium hydroxide dissolved in it, at a room temperature of twenty five degrees celcius,... did a Warnquest 10/90 test, there was no fallout. So, biodiesel transesterification reaction can be done without heating using the regular method"
I think it would really help if you did some testing.
This sounds like a poor man's methoxide. The commercial stuff, anhydrous sodium methoxide in methanol has had numerous good reviews by the homebrewers that have used it. I can see your method as a benefit for those want to use the commercial premix but are not able to get it.
You're not the first professional chemist to post on this forum. If you took the time to investigate a little, you might find a few in depth discussions on University level 500 Thesis papers on this forum.
If by "poor man's methoxide" you mean that mine is really cheap to make then you're right. I'm not sure how much of a chemistry background you have but by using Le Chateleir's principle to generate it, I (probably) make it for a lot less than the commercial stuff.
And I know that my methoxide works because, well, it does. I generate a very high yield at room temperature, and the only mixing required to generate the shear for the reaction is the recirculation of the el-cheapo pool pump that I use. The batch in the vids that I have posted was a summer batch, but with my next batch I will be having a public demonstration, and anyone in Perth WA is welcome to come along and watch.
The other thing is that mine is the potassium salt, as opposed to the sodium salt, so the salt of the fatty acid is liquid. One of the unexpected outcomes of this method is that the glycerol that I generate is very thin, so is easily disposed of down the sink with minimal foaming. I've made some videos of this process which I will be updating on my site soon.
I just checked your website and I see your recipes all involve heating. You're welcome to post my method onto it if you wish. It's not a commercial venture for me - I just want to help people to make biodiesel easier
The primary advantage of using either your mixture or the commercial version is to drastically reduce soap production. I have not seen your method of mixing methanol and lye before, I find it interesting.
The primary advantage of using heat is speed, the reaction goes faster with heat. There have been others that recommended making biodiesel without adding heat, like the video below from 2010. There have been many others.
DIY Biodiesel - 5 minute microbatches
You're also not the first to use potassium hydroxide or even the potassium methoxide premix. Yes what you say is true, overdose the reaction with potassium methoxide and it will overcome some water in the oil and push the reaction a little further. But, you don't need to overdose low titration, dry oil, particularly with your methoxide.
Have you tested biodiesel made using your room temperature technique? I'd be interested in know.
The homebrew test is the 3/27 test. You can find several good threads discussing it. Of course the commercial ASTM or EN tests would good too.
I'm afraid you don't understand the chemistry of my method.
The high methoxide concentration is nothing to do with water. In fact the unique part of my method is the dessication step - the removal of all water from the methoxide solution. This uses Le Chateleir's principle to generate very high concentrations of methoxide.
Since the methoxide is a catalyst, its role, by definition, is to lower the Ea of the reaction. This means it will proceed at ambient temperature and does not require the input of thermal energy.
And yes, I am aware that KOH is not unique to my method. The video clip, I must confess, puzzles me. I haven't read through all the comments, but there are two things that no one I have seen has commented on
1. I'm not convinced it's the same drum. There appear to be some black marks on the top of it after the reaction that weren't there beforehand. But there's possibly an innocent explanation - maybe it just got grubby sitting outside with some dust in the oil or something
2. Of more concern is the volume of glycerol. With my method, 17% methoxide by volume generates 22% glycerol by volume. In this video clip it's no more than about 10%. So at best it's a halfway reaction.
And then of course there's the obvious thing, that lots of people have commented on, about the fact that she tipped the raw product into her tank without any processing or washing.
No, I haven't done any tests on my product yet - there's no need to. It produces a low viscosity, low smoking product that runs beautifully. Before I changed the ratios from 100:15 to 100:20 it was a bit smoky in the merc until the engine warmed up, which tells me there was probably some unconverted WVO in there. But having changed the ratios it's now smokeless.
An unexpected by product of the change of ratios was very low viscosity, low-foaming glycerol. It's almost as thin as water and is easily discarded down the sink. I've added some more video clips at the link on my site
One day I'll run my product through a GCMS just for my own interest, but it's not a high priority.
And yes, it's highly possible that someone else thought of using Le Chateleir's principle to generate a high concentration of anhydrous catalyst - it's an obvious modification - but I haven't seen such a method
You keep going back to Le Chatelier's principle. I do understand that you have used proven techniques that reduce the odds of producing glop, combined with an high level of catalyst. Which has been proven to improve quality at the risk of runaway soap production. What's new about that?
The video proved that room temperature biodiesel has been around for a while. What it did not prove is the quality of such biodiesel. Neither have you. There is no real standard of quality in homebrew. However, we do generally try to show what quality can be expected with a particular process. We do have forum members that are satisfied with a reaction that only goes far enough to get a good separation of glycerin from biodiesel, others want something closer to ASTM/EN spec. fuel. Where does your process fall?
I am interested in how you mix lye and methanol, in much the same way I'm interested in how Urea Clathration produces ultra low gel point biodiesel.
If you can get some of the forum members either here or in the UK forum to repeat your results and report back some quality test results, I'd be happy to write about it on my website. The problem you're facing is that most of the members are extremely cheap and your process is more expensive than the process they have been using for years. In addition, your process has an additional waste stream they've never had to deal with before.This message has been edited. Last edited by: RickDaTech,
The volume of byproduct (what you are calling glycerol) is NOT an indication of the quality of the biodiesel produced.
There is only about 79ml glycerol/glycerine in every litre of Vegetable oil, That works out to about 7.9%
The rest of the byproduct (you are calling glycerol) is composed of methanol, soap, biodiesel etc.
The fact that you seem to be producing a large amount of byproduct does suggest the possibility that there is a large amount of soap in your byproduct stream because of the huge excess of KOH you are using in the reaction.
I suggest that you first titrate the oil to see how much KOH is actually required for the reaction
I have posted a very good thread on this forum explaining how to titrate located here.The World Famous Chopstick Titration Technique (Pat Pend)
If you require any further assistance please do not hesitate to ask.
I have never seen by-product (what you are calling glycerol) foam.
Why do you think your by-product (what you are calling glycerol) is lower viscosity now that you are adding more methanol to the reaction?
Do you think it is because the actual glycerol produced is lower viscosity?
No, that is not the reason.
The reason your by-product (what you are calling glycerol) is lower viscosity is because you vare using more methanol in the reaction so there is more methanol mixed with the actual glycerol in the by-product. This makes your by-product (what you are calling glycerol) lower viscosity.
You are putting more methanol down the drain than before
Please note that the method on my website has been updated.
It now includes a section that allows you to calculate quantities.
The videos have also been updated, with videos of waste disposal. This method generates glycerol that has low viscosity and is low foaming, so it is easily disposed of down the sink
Really? You may want to rethink that one.
I was contacted on my facebook page by a Paul Dyer. He apparently attempted to post a question on this site but ran into problems with the CAPTCHA thing for some reason.
His question was about whether this method works with "high titrating oils."
I assume that this is referring to oils with a high content of Free Fatty Acids (FFA).
The answer is yes, it does work. This ought to be obvious from the vast excess of base that this method uses. Also, the original version of this method used an oil:Meoh ratio of 100:15. At this concentration no problems occurred and the batch worked perfectly every time. But the ratio has now been changed to 100:20, so there is now an even greater excess.
But for the sake of completeness, and for those of you that are interested, let's look at the chemistry, with some sample calculations.
When I mix the methoxide solution with the WVO, present in the reaction mix are triglycerides, FFAs, methoxide ion, and MeOH. There is no water present.
Let's consider how these species will react.
As MeOH is an extremely weak acid (PKa 15.5) it is obvious that its conjugate base (MeO-) is an extremely strong base.
Therefore when it is mixed with the WVO, it will instantly react with any acids that it finds. Its reaction with the FFAs will therefore proceed as follows (shorthand of HFFA is used for the protonated form of the acids):
HFFA + KMeO = MeOH + KFFA
That is, one mole of HFFA reacts with 1 mole of the methoxide to generate 1 mole of methanol and the potassium salt of the fatty acid (soap). As this method contains no water, it doesn't matter how high the concentration of soap is, as no emulsification can occur.
But this obviously lowers the concentration of the catalyst, which is the critical component of the mixture in terms of allowing the reaction to proceed at room temp.
As I said, I have been making bio by this method for many years now. In Melbourne I picked up from a few cafes and fish & chip shops, with oil of varying qualities. When I first moved to WA I was contacted by a bloke in Capel who had a heap of old oil drums sitting in his back yard that had been there for years. That's easily the poorest quality oil I've ever used.
At the time I was using a ratio of 100:15, and had no problems. I've now increased it to 100:20 to get better stoichiometry and therefore a more complete conversion so there is now even more base.
But the beauty of my method is this - in the unlikely event that you ever did encounter an oil with high enough concentration of FFAs to lower the catalyst concentration to a point where the reaction didn't proceed at room temp, all you have to do is toss in more KOH - the sky's the limit. Due to the fact that this method produces a methoxide solution that is free of water no matter how high the concentration, you can make it as concentrated as you want, with no interfering reactions occurring.
But for me, 10% KOH with a 100:20 oil/MeoH ratio works every time
Look at the video.
Actually, as I am sure you remember, that is not true.
In early Nov 2017 I performed a test series to verify whether your procedure which at the time used 15g KOH per litre WVO would achieve separation with WVO Titrating 18 KOH. It did not achieve separation!
Further testing showed it did not achieve separation with WVO titrating only 10 KOH.
Read the tests starting fifth post down on this page
Just as a further comment on this, the biggest noticeable change resulting from the change of ratios from 100:15 to 100:20 was the change in viscosity of the glycerol phase. It was an unexpected result, but as you'll see from the vids I posted it is almost as thin as water, easily runs down the sink, and produces minimal foam when rinsed with water.
The lack of foam is easily explained - everyone knows that short chain alcohols are very good foam suppressors.
The viscosity effect is not quite so obvious, particularly as I'm not a physical chemist, and rheology is a field of study I've not had much to do with.
Having said that, however, I may have an idea what's happening. The reason that glycerol is a liquid, and not a gas (like propane) is because of the hydroxyl groups. These of course cause hydrogen bonding, overwhelmingly the strongest interaction between molecules due to the fact that there is one hydroxyl group for each carbon.
But, of course, MeOH also has a hydroxyl group and, for steric reasons alone, probably bonds to the glycerol preferentially, with much the same mechanism as occurs with foam suppression. Thus the hydrogen bonding lattice between adjacent glycerol units is disrupted and low viscosity is the result
Hi Dr C., tis me, Paul Dyer.
I guess I would point out that WVO is likely to contain H2O and that protonated FFA's will attract H2O by hydrogen bonding.
Water in the oil always seeming to be the bugbear in achieving complete reactions.
Actually I reckon the biggest source of water is from the methoxide reaction:
NaOH + MeOH = NaMeO + H2O
It puzzles me how few people that make bio are aware of that. But of course my process eliminates that problem, and using Le Chateleir's principle it pulls the equilibrium to the right, thus generating high concentrations of the catalyst.
I have found that even using poor-quality WVO, as long as the oil is transparent (as opposed to translucent or opaque), it's good to go. And that's even from drums that have free phase water in them. As long as you (obviously) don't decant either the water, or the murky phase above the water, but only the clear oil above that, the level of water it contains is low enough so as to not interfere with the process.
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