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Need Help!!!---My first batch
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I have completed my bio-processor, (see attachment), and tried my first batch today. I am using 75 liters of oil with 15 liters of methonal, and mis-calculated the amount of lye to add to the methonal. I calculated the lye to 15 liters of meth vs 75 liters of oil!!!
I thought something was wrong after an hour of settling with no separation. Then I went over my figures to find my error. Everything was running so beautiful and am now depressed.
Is there any way out of this? How can I add the proper amount of lye?

Probe

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Shaun,
 
Location: Dresden, Maine - USA | Registered: March 06, 2004Report This Post
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so you've used far too little lye. i did this once. dissolve the remaining lye needed in 2 or more gallons of methanol, then add to the oil and mix and settle. the product i got by doing this was not perfect, but the solution did settle out.

if much time has passed it may not work so well. i realized my error after only about 15 minutes, before i had turned off the mixer, so the situation is a little different. but that's what i'd do if i were you.

good luck
-p
 
Location: asheville, NC, USA | Registered: December 15, 2003Report This Post
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Feather
Unfortunetly I have no more methonal, but will see if I can pick some up tomorrow. I don't think settling or setting up will be a problem because of using so little lye in the first place. I am going to keep it warm overnight and try again tomorrow.

Thanks for your reply.

Probe
 
Location: Dresden, Maine - USA | Registered: March 06, 2004Report This Post
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Probe
That is a very beautiful set up. I hope you are proud. You should be.
Feather's advice should work well. I have found that within reason, the more methanol, the more better. The devil is in the details. Please let us know how things worked out.
Kenito
 
Registered: March 05, 2004Report This Post
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WOW, is this a new water[oil] heater? I'm impressed.

David Norwood
 
Location: Upstate South Carolina , USA | Registered: December 28, 2003Report This Post
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Very neat indeed,
dva
 
Location: Yorks,England | Registered: June 30, 2001Report This Post



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Thanks to all for the compliments on my processor. I am better at visualizing and constructing then I am at figuring formulars.

I did add the remaining amount of lye needed for my 75 liters of oil, to two more gallons of methonal and have mixed the batch for an hour. Now am playing the waiting game to see if I have a sucessful glicerin separation.

This is me keeping my fingers crossed.

Probe
 
Location: Dresden, Maine - USA | Registered: March 06, 2004Report This Post
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that's a beautiful job on the water heater reactor. You might want to move your ball valve on the methoxide line over to the bottom, not at the top. If you get air in the line after the methoxide is all gone, the pump might not operate properly (I think). but maybe if you turn it off at the top it;ll work OK

I did the same "one pump-multiple uses/pathways" thing recently to Tankenstein ( www.veggieavenger.com/media ).
Nice job!!!!
mark
 
Location: Pittsboro, North Carolina | Registered: March 07, 2001Report This Post
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Mark,
After doing my first batch last weekend I have a couple of ideas for improvement and will post as tested.
I have read on some posts of the past that you were have some trouble getting the meth mix into the suction line during initial mix...I was have the same problem, then I just closed down the valve coming from the heater just enough to provide some suction on the meth mix line. Worked great and knowing that it took it all was a relief.
Probably will not do another batch for a couple weeks because it is still too cold here in the NE and would like to conserve a little energy on keeping the soup warm.

Later

Probe
 
Location: Dresden, Maine - USA | Registered: March 06, 2004Report This Post
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Probe
Is your creation a descendant of Tankenstein? Or did you invent an almost identical twin?
I don't want to be a backseat driver, but as a matter of public safety...I presume that the five gal bucket hanging by a hook is your very caustic catalyst. I'm sure that the hook must be through bolted as opposed to simpley threaded into the 2X4. Also, instead of hanging by handles which easily separate from the bucket, the bucket might more safely be supported by straps that pass underneath it and around the hook, or it could be held on a cage which in turn hangs on the hook. Is there a lid on that bucket?
This is not meant to be criticism, but rather constructive commentary.
If things can go wrong, they will go wrong.
How long did your building project take and how much did you spend?
Hope.
 
Registered: November 06, 2003Report This Post
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Hope,
Indeed the hook is a though bolt and I do use a cover for the bucket when I deploy the methoxide. I premix the methanol and lye in another HDPE #2 bucket so I can mix outside and let the lye dissolve. Then I decant it into the red bucket on a stool then hook it up for gravity. I use 4 gallons of meth and the bucket is designed to take weight the weight of 5 gallons.
I do understand your concern of the bail not withstanding the weight and may come up with a more substancial way of suspending the bucket but also need to keep mind it is not permenately (where is spell check when you need it?) attached.
I created this processor after reading many months of threads online and thought that the water heater/closed system was a good fit in my region, that is why I choose to enclose it in an insulated, rollaround structure. (I also can get it out of the way when I want to use my garage to park my truck. My truck is not used to staying outside every night; what with the coyotes and all.)
The cost was a bit more than Mark had created her processors for...I went with a new water heater because in this area there is a good reason for something to be on a junk pile. (That being because IT IS JUNK!) So with the heater and added cost of the enclosure, I'd say I have $500 in it. It took me a couple of months to put all this stuff together, but then I was in no hurry because I've used this as a winter project. Something I have to come up with every year. I appoligize to anyone thinking I claimed this idea myself...Not so: I just used the path folks have already been down before.
Later,

Probe
 
Location: Dresden, Maine - USA | Registered: March 06, 2004Report This Post
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Probe
My inference was not that you would deny Girl Mark the attribution she deserves. :-)
Just curious about the genesis of ideas.
Back to public safety; I'm concerned about the decanting process. What about an arrangement up top, with a block and tackle with a cable that is afixed to a ratchetted spool (like a come along) mounted on the side, or a line that passes through a cam cleat, so that once the bucket starts its trip up, there is no chance of it accidentally falling. Very controlled ascent and descent. Perhaps a swivellling gallows pole in front would do the trick. Not suggesting you should alter a thing on yours, but I am thinking of daughter of Tankenstein as my next processor.
Any fool can make something complicated and I have made some complicated processors. It takes a genius to design something simple. Please accept my congratulatioons again on a job well done!
Hope
 
Registered: November 06, 2003Report This Post



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I also start the methoxide by closing off the oil feed a little. But I wish I didnt' have to- there's too much of a danger of someone closing it off too much, and I was hoping that I could have just sized the tubing correctly for the right mix ratio. If I keep the reactor vented (the vent on top open, with a condensor attached) during methanol addition, then the mix problem is less of a problem. but the predecessors of this reactor, which weren't perfectly sealed (I work outdoors) worked perfectly without fiddling with the oil and methoxide ratios. The next step is to try a bigger pump and see how that affects this mix issue.

Water heaters- couldn't you find a free one through that great classifieds paper you are blessd with in Maine?
Or are people there too practical for electric water heaters? In my my area, everyone in town is on a gas line so it's super difficult to find electric water heaters.



Can you post this photo on the www.veggieavenger.com/media $150 Fumeless (not quite as catchy of a name as tankenstein has, but my Tankenstein reactor is really an oddball) thread sometime?

I love it!

The point of posting the veggieavenger stuff is for people to take it and modify it and do whatever fits their needs with it. No attribution or whtaever necessary.

I don't like mixing methanol and lye in a bucket as I've noticed that you just can't keep methanol fumes contained in a bucket. I poured out some methanol dregs from a small drum (holding my breath) last month and left the tightly sealed, gasketed bucket in my shop for a couple of hours. When I returned the whole shop smelled dangerously of methanol, despite the gasket.

Carboys are about $10 at places like Tap Plastics and US PLastics and Consolidated Plastics. I have also found bulk laundry soap comes in them sometimes. I've found them at the dump, and others have found them via health food stores, dry cleaners, and other businesses which buy stuff in carboys. The great thing about them is the tapped threaded extra hole in the lid so you can attach plumbing securely.

Mark
 
Location: Pittsboro, North Carolina | Registered: March 07, 2001Report This Post
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Hope,
You don't need to put the methoxide all that high- I used to put it on top of the reactor but eventually did some tests and figured out that the extra height wasn't helping all that much. So I just put it at a nice ergonomically safe-to-lift waist height, just a little bit above the pump.

mark
 
Location: Pittsboro, North Carolina | Registered: March 07, 2001Report This Post
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What kind of temperature gauge is that, and where can I buy one?

Mark
 
Location: Pittsboro, North Carolina | Registered: March 07, 2001Report This Post
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GM
Good Idea!
Better than mine.
Hope
 
Registered: November 06, 2003Report This Post
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Can someone please shrink this so it fits on the screen, Thanks.
dva Roll Eyes
 
Location: Yorks,England | Registered: June 30, 2001Report This Post
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Sorry about the large photo. I now know how to resize the .jpg so it will not be so large the next time. However there is nothing that I can do to delete or resize the current attachment because as it states when I try; "Cannot delete attachments that have replies." (Or messages for that matter.)
If someone has a better idea please let me know.

Mark; I appreciate all the comments on my processor...I found the thermometer on Ebay!!, and don't know where you can get another. It is of commercial quality and was listed as a boiler temperature gauge.

Later,

Probe
 
Location: Dresden, Maine - USA | Registered: March 06, 2004Report This Post



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Very nice job Probe, I have a couple of
questions for you and if you don't mind,
maybe a contructive comment or two.
I know it's easy to look at what someone
has done and stand back and be critical,
but presumably that's one of the reasons
you have posted the unit, so here goes.

I see you have made it mobile which is big
advantage for many reasons.
I was wondering if you stabilise the unit,
possibly with wooden blocks or something,
when it is full in case one of the wheels
collapses.
One advantage of it being mobile is that you
can move it to a well ventilated area when
processing. It crossed my mind that the
enclosure would limit the free flow of air
around the components. So moving it outside
or improving the natural ventilation of the
unit would probably make it more safe.

Another advantage of using a carboy, suggested
by Girl Mark, is that assuming it is translucent,
you can see the rate the NaOH/Methanol mix
is being fed at.
Personally I would have more peace of mind
if the pump suction and discharge pipes were
hard plumbed in copper or steel, others might
no be so concerned.
As a safety upgrade I would suggest fitting a
pressure gauge and pressure cut out unit
which could be set to cut out the electrics at a
predetermined pressure (say 7 psi).
Apart from that, I'll say no more about
pressure!!!.

Happy Paddy's day all
Drifter
 
Registered: November 06, 2003Report This Post
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Drifter,
Thanks for your comments. I have six casters under the unit for ease of mobility and stabibity and failure of these wheels is not a concern for me. I made it mobil to, as you say, bring it out for ventilation and also ablity to stow it out of the way when not in use. The primary reason for the enclosure was to keep the soup warm until all processing/washing is complete. But as you say it also keep fumes under control.
I think I will look into a carboy as Girl Mark has stated.

Later,

BTW: I DO have my green shirt on today. Wink

Probe
 
Location: Dresden, Maine - USA | Registered: March 06, 2004Report This Post
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