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What is the safest way to make biodiesel with an at home setup ? I read you think the appleseed is not safe. denny
 
Registered: June 23, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It's not the processor that makes a difference, it's your mindset and attention to details.

Make biodiesel at home more safely:

1)keep the volume of oil and biodiesel on the property to the absolute minimum - the larger the stockpile of oil, the bigger and hotter the fire.

2)keep your work area clean and free of greasy rags - spontaneous combustion of oily rags is common in homebrew

3)keep your processing equipment outside your home, more specifically, in no structure attached to your home. If you burn down your processor or have a methanol spill and you will still be able to sleep in your own bed afterwards.

4)Properly store bulk methanol using proper grounding and bonding techniques. static electricity has been blamed for many commercial plant fires.

5)Make sure all heating elements are either on timers or are not left heating unattended. overheating oil is bad.

6)Have fire extinguishers on hand in the workspace.

7)Never attempt to make biodiesel when sleepy, tired, on drugs, or while drinking.

8)Keep your work area well ventilated.
 
Location: Cowboy Country | Registered: December 06, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The only thing you need to know to make biodiesel safely is this:

Appleseed Reactors and open top reactors stirred with a drill have both been shown to be dangerous methods of making biodiesel and should be avoided.

Good luck, newbie!


News and Views www.dailypaul.com
 
Location: Green Bay, WI | Registered: June 26, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi dennyfreezer,

To make bio at home safely you first need to intimately understand the process and its inherent safety concerns. Then you need to design your setup to best mitigate these risks. A water heater based processor can be made just as safe as any other setup.
Here are some key things required for a safe biodiesel processor setup; (in my opinion)
1) Only use in a well ventilated area, like outside and never in an attached garage or basement!
2) Safety controls to prevent the heater from coming on when not covered in oil preferably with some redundancy or use other means of non contact heating.
3) proper wiring practises that meet the minimum requirements of the local electrical code.
4) sealed reactor along with other vessels that contain methanol vented to the outdoors away from ignition sources.
5) Proper signage warning others of the hazards if your not around.
6) Good housekeeping practises and use a fire proof sealed can for all dirty rags (biggest source of fires seems to be from rags spontaneously combusting).

Remember you are making fuel! Designing and building a safe biodiesel processor is not cheap, do not cut corners and invest in safety and you will have a setup that allows you and your neighbours to sleep well at night!
Good luck!
Jon
 
Location: Wellington County, Ontario Canada | Registered: February 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'd say you only missed one Jon:

7) Pay attention!

Its easy once you've done batch number 25 with no problems to just start going through the motions of making fuel, because you've got it all down so well. That's when you are gonna get in trouble. Always check every fitting, pay attention to every odd noise or smell.

A favorite saying around work (medical engineers), "There are no small details!" It holds true in biodiesel, too. That odd smell, that odd noise, could be the first and only clue you are gonna get before a pump burns out. And once fluids stop moving, odd and bad things can happen.

OK, Jon, maybe 2;

8) Have a beer. The treatment for methanol exposure is ethanol consumption. Better safe than sorry, so always follow up your brewing with a shot, a beer, some wine. Just a little. Ethanol in your blood prevents the liver from converting any methanol in your blood to a toxic by-product that, given long term exposure, can cause blurred vision and eventually blindness.
 
Location: Southern WI, USA | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thank you for the answers. Clean and green, what do you suggest be used ? I understand no design is without some risk. What design do you believe offers the least risk for home use ? What design is safer than the Appleseed design for home use ? Denny
 
Registered: June 23, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Thank you for the welcome and compliment. An awful knowledgeable rookie. Thank you. I will aways be a student. When people start thinking they know it all is when they stop learning. Feel free to answer the question in the first post. Denny
 
Registered: June 23, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I find the balance between ease of use, cost, and safety a very intriguing dance. I am NOT one of those people that believes safety is #1 importance at all costs. The whole touchy-feely "but what is your safety really worth" argument is wasted on me. Today my safety is worth less than $96 and a couple hours of my time because I have yet to buy a Murphy safety float switch and the relay to add to my in-tank heater.

I figure the odds of me having an accident are about 1:200, based on my experience so far. And the odds of that accident causing damage is about double that...and the odds of that damaging accident actually damaging anything significantly more valuable than the $96 safety switch? Lower still. If I burn up a $25 HF pump: big deal. If I burn up a $20 heating element: big deal. If I burn up a $150 Pitbull pump: big deal. All of those things sit in or on flame-resistant areas.

If a hose blows off and sprays methanol laden WVO all over my shop, and I have to clean it all up and I have to leave the shop door open for a week with fans running to clean the fumes...well...that might just be approaching $96 and 2hrs of my time in value. But the odds are 1:800, remember?

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Shaun,
 
Location: Southern WI, USA | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Just pay attention to details, follow the recommendations in this thread. Also get a copy online of the Best Biodiesel Practices manual (or something to that effect). It shows safety protocol and procedure.


Illegitimi Non Carborundum
 
Location: Utopia Planitia | Registered: February 25, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Appleseed Reactors and open top reactors stirred with a drill have both been shown to be dangerous methods of making biodiesel and should be avoided.


I don't know how you can put those two in the same category; while the water heater reactor system does have some shortcomings,which are easily overcome and has been discussed here ad nauseum, it in no way can ever compare to an open top drum with a drill for safety shortcomings.

I have 2 reactors that are water heaters, but neither have electricity going into them, and they are as safe as anything currently out there, human error and blatant stupidity not withstanding, so perhaps rather than puting out erroneous blanket statements they should at least be quantified.



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


 
Location: :-) Great White North eh ? | Registered: December 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Leagal Eagle

-I agree 100% no mater how safe you make it, there is no cure for stupidity Eek, Making biodiesel was difficult in the beginning, but now the challenge is to not become complacent, that’s when stupid things happen. I speak from experience Big Grin Tom


" I don't know what I don't know until I know"
1994 GMC 6.5 Tubo 2005 Dodge ram 3500, 3 VW's 2000, 2002, 2005.
 
Location: Manitoba Canada | Registered: March 24, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It's impossible to make the world idiot proof, human nature will always provide a better idiot.



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Just do it and don't be paranoid!
I know common sense isn't very common, but that's all it takes.

Read and learn before you do it. It's fun and rewarding.

don't be intimidated by the trolls....

Negative crap is all over this forum... use your common sense!

There are also very many intelligent experts here too.
Learn from them!!!

Bob
 
Location: Western NY | Registered: September 16, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Bob

-good call Tom


" I don't know what I don't know until I know"
1994 GMC 6.5 Tubo 2005 Dodge ram 3500, 3 VW's 2000, 2002, 2005.
 
Location: Manitoba Canada | Registered: March 24, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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What happened here? When I first responded I was the third post down after C&G's post now Ricks good post has been moved up to the first response. I guess Ricks advice was better than the rest?
Rick do you have moderator/edit capability in this section like you did in the safety section over in the equipment section?
Good additions Ryan! I cant believe I forgot the most important step #8... and my favourite! Big Grin
Jon
 
Location: Wellington County, Ontario Canada | Registered: February 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Jon, I see what you mean. The answers are switched around and changed? Clean and greens welcome? Gone? Thanks for all the answers mates. I hear ya. It's kind of like riding a motorbike. Be careful and have fun. Denny
 
Registered: June 23, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Jon Heron:
What happened here? When I first responded I was the third post down after C&G's post now Ricks good post has been moved up to the first response. I guess Ricks advice was better than the rest?
Rick do you have moderator/edit capability in this section like you did in the safety section over in the equipment section?
Good additions Ryan! I cant believe I forgot the most important step #8... and my favourite! Big Grin
Jon


I actually posted that one first. It didn't show up when I posted it and I thought it was lost. I have no idea why it waited so long to show up in the thread. Like everyone else, I can only edit my own posts.
 
Location: Cowboy Country | Registered: December 06, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by dennyfreezer:
Thank you for the answers. Clean and green, what do you suggest be used ? I understand no design is without some risk. What design do you believe offers the least risk for home use ? What design is safer than the Appleseed design for home use ? Denny


I have not seen any popular designs that are inherently safer than the appleseed. I have seen a number of design bits and pieces by various DIY people that improve safety for specific issues, but nothing that takes a comprehensive look at making a safer processor. Our Trolls repeatedly emphasize single issues they think are a problem, but the big picture is more than a single Troll's complaints. There are areas not often addressed that can cause serious problems. For example, what do you do with your glycerin? I get the feeling that most people stockpile it because they don't know how to dispose of it. That's the worst course of action. It becomes a major fire hazard and potential environmental polutant when stockpiled. The appleseed is a processor, a part of the whole, it in itself does not address glycerin disposal, or washing, or WVO pre treatment, or WVO spills, or..... A truly safer biodiesel production system would need to address safety from oil collection to vehicle fueling. That's not been done on anything less than a commercial plant scale.
 
Location: Cowboy Country | Registered: December 06, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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quote:
Originally posted by dennyfreezer:
Thank you for the welcome and compliment. An awful knowledgeable rookie. Thank you. I will aways be a student. When people start thinking they know it all is when they stop learning. Feel free to answer the question in the first post. Denny


Sorry, Dilly. The post where I complimented you and that other one were deleted.

You still bring up a good topic to discuss, whoever you are...


News and Views www.dailypaul.com
 
Location: Green Bay, WI | Registered: June 26, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There has been discussion about the durability of tanks if something goes wrong.

Plastic Tanks - Probably ok for storage. But, it doesn't take much extra heat to make them leak, and you can be assured that in a fire, they will spew their contents onto the ground. People have also skewered their tanks with heating elements by accident and made messes.

HW Heater.
Probably can take a fair amount of abuse. Especially if it is insulated.

55 Gallon steel barrels. Probably would rupture in a fire, but otherwise good.

Propane Tanks.
Very durable, and might survive a fire intact.
However, limited by what is attached to it.
Also, can take a lot of pressure if you get a system that becomes pressurized for whatever reason.


Heating element locations have also been issues. Using stock HW Heater elements in their standard location in a HW Heater can cause problems with them overheating and burning out, or potentially causing a fire if inadequately covered.

Many people have installed the heating elements in circulation systems using a T with better luck.

There is a pinned posting about methanol fumes with an "open top" reactor in an unvented shed.

Design your system so it doesn't rely on you remembering to monitor temperatures and shutting it off.
 
Location: Oregon | Registered: October 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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