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Farm-Scale Production Needs Glycerine Solutions

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February 15, 2009, 06:48 PM
Farm-Scale Production Needs Glycerine Solutions
Hello to all.

Since I read Penn States' "Best Managment Practices for Small-Scale Biodiesel Productions" publication I've been weary of composting my glycerine on the farm. The manual explained that there is a real potential of contaminating ground water by dumping methanol laden glycerine in the compost in large volumes. Although we have had a lot of organic matter to turn and dilute the glycerine with we noticed an apple tree very near by slowly die. Thought it a result of this.

I am not into soap making and would like to know if there is anyone with information about how to use this "cocktail" of BTU valuable byproduct called 'glycerol' as a useful fuel and in what. I'm especially interested in generating electricity.

Thanks for any help or leads.
February 15, 2009, 07:46 PM
Legal Eagle
This is not the most economical way to attack the problem but have you looked at anerobic digestion ?

Like if you have lots of manure this can be supplemented with raw glycerol (the bugs actually thrive on it) and that would be getting rid of the problem overstock and solving the desired end result of producing electricity via methane powered genset at the same time.

A full on system is not cheap to set up though. One of the farm guy's brother set one up for a couple hundred head and runs his whole farm op on it. He's into it for 600K though (with tax subsidies paying the brunt of course)

** Biodiesel Glycerine Soap - The Guide
- on 5 continents helping people make & sell soap from the Biodiesel Glycerine.

February 15, 2009, 07:46 PM
Diluted, waste glycerol (with or without methanol), is excellent anaerobic digester substrate (so long as you aren't using sulfur-based catalysts). Digesters can produce electricity or methane, and this method would avoid the potential environmental release issues you mentioned as well.

"Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."

George Orwell
February 15, 2009, 08:15 PM
I do need an economical solution and I'd rather not get the government involved (with grants, etc). Thank you for the suggestions though guys.

I'm in southern California and they don't really need all the heat here from running glycerine in a boiler for example. What we need is electricity. I'd really like to know if people are using glycerine as fuel in something like a low RPM "Lister engine" that can handle used motor oil, SVO, etc and can hook to a generator. We really need an eco-friendly solution for folks producing subtancial amounts a week on the farm. Otherwise we risk contaminating our wells. I'm also on a certified Organic farm and can't really use my glycerine in the compost.

There is another fella I noticed on the forum that asked what to do with his back up of byproduct. It seems that bar soap is the usual suggestion but this requires de-mething, which I currently don't have, and who needs that many bars? Seems like the answer is shipping it out to someone who can use it...but I'd like to use it myself.

My impression is that somehow race cars run on methanol so there must be someway to run a generator (on glycerol) to produce electricity. Maybe I'm dreaming. Got any other leads though? Thanks again in advance.
February 16, 2009, 07:41 AM
Although we have had a lot of organic matter to turn and dilute the glycerine with we noticed an apple tree very near by slowly die. Thought it a result of this.

There is probably lye in the glycerine or if you neutralized it salt neither of which are liked by plants.
If you use KOH and phosphoric acid to neutralize you get fertilizer, if you use NaOH you get sodium salts which only mangroves seem to like.
February 16, 2009, 09:06 AM
I'm currently absorbed in the glycerin disposal problem too, and I can't picture myself peddling bars of soap. I also do small-scale organic gardening and have issues disposing of glycerin into the local environment. Glycerin also takes alot of heat to ignite. I might have the possibility of disposing it in a manure lagoon,but I have to be convinced it won't have any negative effects
February 16, 2009, 09:20 AM
What needs to be developed is a small scale anaeraobic digester that produces methane from manure and the manure is decomposed with the use of biodiesel glycerine. I know of a large dairy farm that produces its own electricity off its poop and sells the extra KW's to the grid. So the question is this ; 1 KW=?horsepower=?methane =? manure(+glycerine).
February 17, 2009, 02:07 PM
to heatbeater and sinbad:

thank you for the posts and sharing your thoughts. I am going to be looking further into this and i agree that a small scale anaerobic digetser would be an interesting experiment.

Once i gather some more info I hope to share it on the forum. If you hear of anything further then please feel free to PM me directly. cheers!

February 17, 2009, 02:26 PM

For those that have access to milk farms, we make a small machine that processes the glycerol from biodiesel making.
We recover the methanol, add acetic acid and produce glycerine with sodium acetate, both liquids useful to increase the energy content of the cattle meal.
Can be seen at :

Best regards
February 17, 2009, 07:10 PM
cmm that's pretty interesting stuff about using glycerine in cattle feed. I used to be a dairy farmer myself . I never thought of using glycerine for dairy cattle , I'm skeptical because I never heard of it. The rumen can do some amazing things,like convert urea to protein ,plus the concepts behind the TMR (total mixed ration) so I"ll have to do some more investigating. Thanks
February 17, 2009, 07:18 PM
GoldenIsles I'm not completely sure but I think things like grass clippings and leaves can also be added to manure to release methane gas . This something I'm going to have to checkout.
February 21, 2009, 07:12 AM
Legal Eagle
There have been numerous studies on the use of biodiesel glycerol in cattle feed. It is a viable method. Do a search on glycerine for ruminants;I've posted the links a few times here.

** Biodiesel Glycerine Soap - The Guide
- on 5 continents helping people make & sell soap from the Biodiesel Glycerine.

March 03, 2009, 05:50 PM
Jack Boyett
The biodiesel plant I'm working at is selling all it's glycerine for cattle feed. It has some value if you can get the methanol out.
March 03, 2009, 09:33 PM
I'm unsure if this burner works, it could solve problems for many of us if it does:

MK Glycerin Burner from AlterHeat

It's listed as a developed-for-glycerin burner that will run on 100% crude glycerin (not sure if this means with or without methanol).

"Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."

George Orwell
March 17, 2009, 12:35 AM
I have been wanting to pursue glyecerine as a dairy supplement since I started making BD a couple years ago. I really want to make it a reality this year. Last year, I messed around with neutralizing some glycerine with sulfuric acid. I did not get separation, but the pH ended up being between 7-8. I also attempted methanol removal by vacuum distillation, but my system kept foaming up and boiling over. Needless to say, I was once again discouraged. If I simply neutralize the glycerine to a reasonable pH is it safe for consumption? Do I need to remove the methanol as well? What is the best way to go about doing this?

3 Case IH Tractors
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Looking for diesel car/ truck to add to the fleet....
March 17, 2009, 08:11 AM
Gday Kevin,I am going to try some glycerine on some lambs in troughs.To get rid of the methanol i am aerating with a aquarium bubbler.i am only aerating 40 litres and the lambs will have a self feeder with barley and a round bale of hay near the glycerine.I dont know about the risidual KOH.I am sailing in uncharted waters with feeding sheep and i will post my succes or failure when i have any result.regards westwinds
November 02, 2017, 12:36 PM

There is a new generation of safe burners for crude or waste glycerine, with licensed sweeden technology:
-exhaust temperature over 1000 °C
-the exhaust emissions complies EURO III std
-capacity up to 500,000 kCal/h each
-assembled air/water heaters available too.

Can be seen at: