First time poster on this section - thought the contribution might be helpful for home brewers large and small as we have learned much from everyone else, thought we should return what we have learned.
We had been reading up on and optimistic about Wood Chip dry washing since the article in Biodiesel SMARTER came out. We were skeptics at first, but now are converted to beleivers.
The question was how to pull it off "easiy" without hassling with a fabricator or risking leaks from imperfect welds. Here is what we have created - it works perfectly for us:
1. Go to Craigslist or similar posting site and get a used High Rate Sand Swimming Pool Filter with the Jandi Valve in it (we paid $75). (the Jandi is a single valve that, upon turning it can move from "filter" to "backwash", etc. for pools)
2. The filter tanks are made of fiberglass and the internals are all plastic with SS hardware.
3. Remove the valve and clean out the filter of all sand.
4. Check the laterals (the tubes with slits in them at the bottom of the valve that spread out like an octopus) for any breakage. These are easily replaced if you find a crack from a pool supply store or the manufacturer).
5. Place valve back into tank with the laterals near or at the bottom.
6. Add dried wood chips up to the top of the tank (we used poplar and pine)
7. Re-attach the valve to the filter body.
(I personally would not use "wet" chips that had high degrees of resin in them and certainly not a dark wood like walnut or cherry. No known reason - just personal preference.)
Our reactor is a 400 gallon SS reactor wtih Lightin Air Mixer - we do 250 gallon batches at a time.
Once reacted and we pass 3/27 (or is that 27/3?), we settle off the glycerol then pump the unwashed biodiesel into the top of stacked pair of IBC totes.
The top tote is plumbed from the drain valve to the "Pump" side of the Jandi Valve, and the "Return" side of the Jandi Valve is piped into the top of the bottom tote. If you have worked on pools, you know the process is water (in our case biodiesel) is pumped down on the top of the filter medium and pushed down to the laterals where the fluid is collected and routed out the Return side (as in return to the pool)
In our case, we gravity feed the unwashed biodiesel into the High Rate Sand filter which filters the biodiesel through the wood chips, in through the laterals on the bottom of the valve and up and out). The slits in the laterals prevent the wood chips from exiting the filter. (not sure if sawdust would work or clog it up as we don't use it)
VIOLA! We passed the shake 'em test as if we had plowed hundreds of gallons of water through the biodiesel, but now don't have to get the water out. We also don't have a pressurized resin column that would need to be watched. We simply let gravity do its thing. Biodiesel out the bottom of the top tote, into the swimming pool filter then the pressure from the top tank pushes it up and into the bottom tote.
When the chips are spent (they won't clean out soaps anymore) we empty the chips out and burn them in the barn's wood burning furnace.
Total Cost? Under $100.
Time to Dry Wash 250 gallons of biodiesel? 3 hours.
Having fun blending swimming pool mechanics learned as a teenager, biodiesel brewing and cool green technology with friends?
Pictures, we want piiiictures. (please)
** Biodiesel Glycerine Soap - The Guide
- on 5 continents helping people make & sell soap from the Biodiesel Glycerine.
I was out at the farm today but just got your post.
I'll charge up the camera and will be there tomorrow (playing hookie this week from work).
I was totally amazed at the amount of soap removed using chips. This is easy to set up and very little to plumb in.
However, I think it is your set up that would handle the most volume (2 barrel set up?)