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What watt element for 55 gal drum?

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December 21, 2008, 03:23 PM
What watt element for 55 gal drum?
I have designed a 55 gallon drum to heat my WVO. I have installed a 120v 2000w inline heater element and one band heater. After heating for over 2 hours the most the WVO gets is 170F, I want to heat to 230F to remove the water in 1 hour.

What do I need a 240v 4000w element?

What is the most watt element I can install without problems?
December 21, 2008, 03:39 PM
Unless you agitate or spray the WVO you run the chance of a steam explosion at 230f.
December 22, 2008, 08:04 AM
I installed a 4500 watt element in my drum(s) their wired to 120 and seem to work OK. I was warned about heating my WVO to higher temps(212F ) in your case 230F for risk of fire.The gang tells me that heating to 140F will cause a separation between the oil and the water, and then the water can be drained off. I'm going to try this . S0 far I've been able to make bio without an actual dewater process( I did make I batch of waxy jello). I question the fire risk problem, because we're talking about fryer oil which is heated close to 400F in the food joints? Does anybody have any comments? THANK YOU
December 22, 2008, 08:14 AM
we heat to 150 f +/- and then let it settle out, applying that much heat can be dangerous (230f)If your thinking about boiling it out I would reconsider if I where you.
you are correct about the food joints but we as home brewers are in a different situation. If you have a barrel full of oil the water tends to settle out at the bottom as you apply this high heat the water is under the weight and pressur of the oil by the time it has built up enough energy to overcome that force it finds it's way to the surface with explosive results.

It is expanding all the way up at the suface it flashes and covers you and or everthing around it in hot oil. the resteraunts have much shallower containers than we have it's still a concern for them but the difference is the shallow container
December 22, 2008, 10:03 AM
girl mark
You won't be able to get water to boil away in 1 hour for the most part. It depends on the amount of water, of course, but it's probably going to take longer than that.

the second problem is that it can take up to a day to cool down the 230F oil back to a safe temperature to make biodiesel (ie below the boilindg point of methanol, which for safety margin's sake should mean bringing your oil back down to 130F). How longit'll take to cool depends on the amount of insulation on the reactor.

heating to 130 or 140 and letting it stay hot for a day takes the same amount of time but doens't use as much energy, lets you cool the oil and process much more quickly once you've decided the oil is water-free, doesn't risk steam explosions, and doesn't create as many risks of leaks in your pump or any tubing/plumbing.
December 22, 2008, 01:13 PM
May 26, 2009, 01:39 AM
I just filter my oil at 600M and heat (140 degrees) it up in my processor. I have a poly procesor so I test for water and if I need to, open the top and put a fan blowing across it for awhile. 1 hour the water is gone.

2006 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Turbo Diesel

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February 04, 2014, 11:47 PM
I would appreciate any help.
I made some changes, went out of budget. Got robbed in my old shop. And i lost dear equipment.

I could rescue and assemble the above.

I have a Tote where i put the 400 micron filtered oil.
The Tote is in a little rack on the left of the picture.
The Tote is filled up and i send the oil to,

Two 55 gal drums above the Tote (drums not in the picture), i wanna weld one element 3500w 220v in each drum(1/3 from the bottom), each drum has a 1000 gal/hour pump. So there's agitation so the heat can increase quicker.
So i can heat/dewater 80 gal at the same time.
Each drum is filed with 40 gal of oil filtered at 400 micron.
Oil is not that wet.
Im want spray the oil into the drum, while using a fan on top to blow Fresh air.
How long would it take to really dry the oil when reaching 170-180•F? Is it even a good idea.

Do you think this is a good idea for methanol removal from biodiesel, after drain glycerin?
I dont have enough budget right now to build a new methanol recovery unit, and have like 2000 gal of oil and more coming each day, just waiting to being processed.
I should be able to build a recovery unit by the second trimester of this year.

After drying my wvo im sending it to,

My processor is 80 gal (two 40 gal conic poli tanks, each with 1000 gal pump and 1500w 120v heater elements (middle of the image), they work simultaneosly) and i usually do two stage base (80-20) KOH. Average titration 3.
It usually takes me two hours for process to be completed with out using the heaters from the processor, since oil is hot from dewatering).
We want to make three 80 gal batches per day(240gal)


I have a settling conic poly tank 320 gal. (Not in the image)
Where i intend to put my three 80 gal batches after being processed (draining glycerin every two hours after 80 more gallons had processed and put in to the settling tank) we do this 2 times.
And finally let it settle over night.

Next day;

I have two 55 gal drums that i want to use for removing methanol (just like dewatering process i mentiones before)

After methanol removal, i send it to
The Tote on the upper right side of the image. And let it settle for soap drop.
Above the tote in the space in beetween i send the BD thru two 55 gal drum with wood chips, gravity feeded
Next i use Purolite to polish and 2 micron filter.
And to the storage Tote, for dipense.

Sorry for been annoying with same questions. But here i go;
For the mean time;

Dewatering wvo: is it quicker and safe to heat and mix the oil with 1000gph pump at 180-190F?
Or is it heat, settle, drain a better option?
How much time heat? What temp? How much settling? % of volume drained after?

Settling tank? Is it a good idea, to put a batch every 2 hours and drain, settle over night and drain all glyc?

Is it a good idea to heat spray and blow fresh arito evaporate the excess methanol?
Or is it better if i just heat it at 130F (thermostat regulated) in my settling tank after draining glyc and blowing fresh air (air compressor pump, aquarium pump,etc)