It's time to scrap the cutsie "Appleseed" name for an obsolete and potentially unsafe biodiesel reactor design.
The "Appleseed" name was coined by an individual who has since fallen into disrepute, who thought of themselves as a modern day "Johnny Appleseed" spreading the gospel of homebrew biodiesel. Smart biodiesel makers should avoid association with anything called "Appleseed".
The "Appleseed" name will always be associated with problems.
Calling it "modified appleseed" only adds to the confusion.
If you want things with cutsie names, get a pet.
Let's be honest and straightforward, call them Tank Type Biodiesel Reactors, and all the negative baggage associated with "Appleseed" can be avoided.
With correct attention to important details Tank Type Biodiesel Reactors can be made to operate safely. Here are a few points to consider.
Use steel for reactor tank and piping, avoid plastics.
Use an inline heater, don't place the heater in the reactor tank.
Use a good quality UL or CSA certified pump rated for at least 50 ft [22 psi] head pressure. Water system pumps are a good choice for value. Avoid the cheap non-certified import pumps.
Mount the pump and the inline heater at the lowest point in the system so the pump stays primed and the heater stays submerged in fluid at all times.
Use hand crank timers to control the pump and heater.
Use separate circuit breakers for the pump and the heater.
Keep all processing in a separate, well ventilated building away from living quarters.
Vent the reactor tank to the outside.
Have at least one large fire extinguisher handy.
Keep oily paper and cloth waste in metal containers.
Biodiesel IS NOT for dummies, it's an inherently hazardous operation even with the safest equipment.
Pay attention at all times and never let distractions interfere.
The NBB has nothing what so ever to do with the design of commercial processors either lax or otherwise.
Design standards are not set by the NBB they are set by groups like ANSI/ NFPA and more importantly Insurance companies etc. There are also state and federal regulations none of which are set by the NBB.
The NBB may have a member assigned to one or other committee that help set the rules but they have a very minor stake.
South Berwick home oil-to bio-diesel system blaze tricky for firefighters
By Jason Claffey
Friday, February 26, 2010
SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — Had the operator of a homemade frying oil-to-biodiesel fuel conversion system gone to the fire department beforehand for safety tips, Wednesday morning's fire that destroyed three structures at his property on Boyd's Corner Road could have been prevented or mitigated, according to the town's fire chief.
There are no codes that govern such homemade systems, which have gained popularity among environmentalists in recent years. Biodiesel fuel, which can be used to power cars, burns cleaner than gas. The only drawback is a french fry smell.
Wednesday morning's fire smelled more like rotten french fries, said Fire Chief George Gorman.
The fire ignited in a detached garage that homeowner Richard Nowak used to make biodiesel for himself and friends. It burned down the garage, a shed, and a tent-like structure.
Such fires have become more common across the country in recent years, according to Bob Benedetti, a flammable liquids engineer for the Massachusetts-based National Fire Protection Association.
"The main issue appears to be that you are handling a flammable liquid that is easily ignited, in a quantity that really isn't appropriate for a residence," he said. "There definitely needs to be some control and limits."
Establishing those controls and limits on homemade operations could be difficult, according to John Raymond, assistant director of the New Hampshire Fire Marshal's office.
"It's very hard to regulate something in somebody's home," he said.
Larger conversion operations, however, like the University of New Hampshire's EcoLine, are regulated, Raymond said.
The New Hampshire Fire Marshal's office is notified of only a handful of home biodiesel operation fires a year, and has never received a report of a deadly one, Raymond said.
A call to the Maine Fire Marshal's office was not returned Thursday.
Wednesday's fire on Nowak's property caused no injuries.
Gorman said Nowak didn't have a proper containment unit, like a concrete barricade, protecting the biodiesel setup. He also never went to the fire department for guidance, Gorman said.
Nowak didn't return a phone message Thursday.
Gorman said that if the fire department had at least known there was a biodiesel conversion system there, firefighters could have attacked the fire more effectively.
"We went in there blind," Gorman said, adding the frying oil fed the flames.
Firefighters thought they were responding to a traditional garage fire and attacked it with water hoses. Water can actually make oil fires worse, Gorman said. When the firefighters saw drums containing hundreds of gallons of frying oil, they used a special foam to combat the flames.
Crews from the state Department of Environmental Protection also cleaned up the scene, as the property was located next to a swamp and there was a danger of contamination.
Gorman said the cause of the fire likely won't be determined because the garage was so badly burned. He said there was no evidence of methanol — a highly flammable liquid commonly used to convert frying oil into biodiesel.
Gorman said there should be codes in place for such home setups. Short of that, he advised anyone who has or is interested into home biodiesel conversion to consult their local fire departments. An inspection or safety tips can prevent fires like the one that erupted Wednesday, Gorman said.
Flat out not true, but let's not let a small detail like the truth get in the way of CONTROLS.
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Who in their right mind wouldn't realize that methanol is a flammable liquid that is easily ignited, ?
However, if you read at the bottom of the article, it states
"He said there was no evidence of methanol — a highly flammable liquid commonly used to convert frying oil into biodiesel."
And Methanol is one of the flammable liquids that can be extinguished with water.
Many kitchen fires (and turkey frying fires) are caused by or related to burning vegetable oil and grease. Yet it is not uncommon to see people questioning the flammability of hot oil and hot biodiesel in this forum.
The problem is...
There are many entities in our government that can be very helpful. And the Fire Department probably is one. And there is still a code-gap for the small BD producers.
But, I have first-hand experience of dealing with pure harassment including police harassment after trying to work with local building inspectors in Missouri.
Until building and other inspectors adopt a mentality of offering a "helping hand", I don't know if I would voluntarily ever invite one onto my property.
This statement has nothing to do with methanol, methanol is not mentioned until much later in the article, this statement is clearly in reference to WVO, who in their right mind cant see that? And it IS blatantly, patently, false.
It's obvious from the context that Bob is speaking to biodiesel processing fires in general 'across the country'. Not just to this specific fire in Maine.
Treat inspectors politely and keep a clean, tidy, safety conscious operation and you won't have problems.
Authority figures that abuse their power are common everywhere and we see examples of this everyday, just be polite and ignore them whenever possible. Responding to them in like manner only turns them on.
Or not. Got the T-shirt. My local building inspector was unhelpful in the extreme, and that was just building the shop. He knows nothing of the biodiesel and that's how it will stay.
"Flammable" is a poorly defined technical term. Most understand it to mean, will it burn, or will it not. The problem with this lay definition is that, pretty much everything will burn under the right circumstance. Steel for example, burns beautifully in the form of steel wool, and/or in the presence of oxygen. We do not generally think of steel as flammable, and we should not.
A better and more precise definition is that used by OSHA.
At 29 CFR 1910.106(a)(19), OSHA defines "flammable liquids" as any liquids having a flash point below 100 F (37.8 C), except any mixture having components with flashpoints of 100 F (37.8 C) or higher, the total of which make up 99 percent or more of the total volume of the mixture. Flammable liquids are known as Class I liquids and are divided into three classes:
* Class IA include liquids that have flash points below 73 F. (22.8 C) and boiling points below 100 F (37.8 C)
* Class IB include liquids that have flash points below 73 F (22.8 C) and boiling points at or above 100 F (37.8 C)
* Class IC includes liquids that have flash points at or above 73 F (22.8 C) and below 100 F (37.8 C)
Based on those criteria, neither wvo, nor biodiesel are considered flammable based on the more useful and precise definition.
You are correct. Neither Biodiesel nor WVO are flammable or for that matter inflammable.
They are both class C2 Combustible liquids.
You should try the St. Louis building inspectors.
I had some questions so I went to the main office...
One of the building inspectors wouldn't walk 50 feet to the front desk for a face-to-face discussion (or allow me to walk back to his office), but only talked to me over an inter-office phone.
And the basic line was "it is only allowed if covered under the manufacturer's design specs".
Is that an Australian rating.
For the HMIS (Hazardous Materials Identification System) Flammability Rating, and NFPA 704 ratings, Vegetable Oil and Biodiesel have flammability of 1.
The NFPA 704 is essentially identical.
Both Biodiesel and Vegetable Oils ARE FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS and should be considered as such.
I suppose the benefits of working with a liquid with a high flash point is that if the liquid is contained in a tank, then the tank can act as a heat sink and prevent the liquid from reaching the flash point. However, if the liquid gets poured out, then you loose the ability to maintain the tankful as a heat sink.
Here was a photo posted a while ago of a tote sitting outside that apparently burnt the top off, then stopped burning without intervention, presumably because the oil in the tank never reached the flash point.
It doesn't mean that it was no flammable, it just didn't reach the flash point while in the tank. If the tank had developed a leak, the whole thing would likely have burnt.
Nope. USA OSHA
...and methanol is. The degree of hazard relates to the most flammable product on-site.
Man burned while making biodiesel fuel
by Associated Press (April 13th, 2010 @ 7:51pm)
PHOENIX - Authorities say a man manufacturing biodiesel fuel in his Buckeye home inadvertently set the fuel on fire, damaging his house and burning parts of his upper body.
The blaze ignited about 3 p.m. Tuesday at the home near 299th Avenue and Thomas Road, breaking windows, scorching the exterior paint and giving the man non-life threatening injuries.
Buckeye Fire officials say the man was taken in stable condition to the burn unit at an area hospital with injuries to his arms and face. His name was not immediately available but authorities say he's in his 40s.
Fire officials say regulation of biodiesel fuel manufacturing at home is unclear so it's not immediately clear whether the man was breaking the law. An investigation is ongoing.
Investigative Journalism and literary masterpieces at their finest.
I have but one question: What the heck difference does his name or age make????
So we can make up funny rhymes for his name and chuck it all off as senility if the guy is over 90?
The MSM, you just gotta love 'em.
** Biodiesel Glycerine Soap - The Guide
- on 5 continents helping people make & sell soap from the Biodiesel Glycerine.
Home-brew biodiesel poses fire hazards, officials calling for regulation
By JASON CLAFFEY
Sunday, April 25, 2010
SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — Attempts by the environmentally conscious to turn cooking oil into biodiesel in their backyards can backfire — literally.
Fires erupting in such home operations have been reported all over the country, from South Berwick, Maine, and Massachusetts to Oregon and Texas.
It's unclear if anyone has died in these incidents, as the setups aren't regulated and tracked.
And fire officials say that's the problem.
"They're underground," said Bill Clark, an investigator with the New Hampshire Fire Marshal's office. "It's a situation where there may be an unsafe operation going on, and yet no one knows until unfortunately there's a bad consequence."
"The circumstances are ripe for a tragedy."
The danger lies in highly flammable chemicals, like methanol, that are used in the conversion process, according to Bob Benedetti, a flammable liquids engineer for the Massachusetts-based Fire Protection Agency.
"It's easily ignited," said Benedetti, who added that regulations should be established.
Biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine and burns cleaner than traditional fuel. It usually is made from used cooking oil, which many restaurants give away for free as a way to reduce or eliminate disposal costs.
Finding how-to information for making the fuel and getting started is as easy as a Web search. Converters can start at less than $400. There's also an incentive to buy such kits in the form of the federal Alternative Fuel Infrastructure tax credit, good for up to $2,000 for a home-based system.
But a lot can go wrong.
On April 13, a man in Buckeye, Texas, reportedly burned his arms and face after accidentally sparking a biodiesel fire at his home.
Locally, a South Berwick man in February nearly burned down his home after a fire started in a garage he used to convert used restaurant vegetable oil into biodiesel. The 600-700 gallons of oil he had stored fed the fire, which burned down the garage, an adjoining shed, and scorched the side of his home.
A fire official said the garage didn't have a proper containment unit, such as a concrete barricade, that could have prevented the fire from spreading.
Kittery resident Dan Hansche, on the other hand, had better luck when he converted 10 gallons of used oil into biodiesel last year in his backyard out of "personal curiosity."
He found instructions online and said the process was relatively simple, like a "chemistry class."
He said he poured the biodiesel into a 1967 Land Rover and took it for a spin.
"It ran like a champ," he said, noting it got about 22 miles per gallon. "It was very satisfying."
On Feb. 24, during the South Berwick incident, firefighters responded to a home on Boyd's Corner Road after getting a report of a garage fire. They attacked it with water hoses, but the water made the hot cooking oil explode — fanning the flames.
They switched to a special foam that finally quelled it.
"We went in there totally blind," said Fire Chief George Gorman. "We thought it was a regular garage fire, and then there's 600-700 gallons of oil burning in the ground ... it was like a mini-refinery."
The man was home at the time, but escaped when he heard the crackling of the fire.
Gorman said the exact cause of the fire was not determined.
Biodiesel is made from essentially a blend of vegetable oil and a converting agent like methanol, which is highly flammable.
Fires can erupt if the methanol is ignited by a spark. The other danger is biodiesel and vegetable oil — which are also flammable — are typically stored in the same structure as the conversion operation and can feed a fire.
Had the owner gone to the fire department beforehand for safety tips or at least said he had a biodiesel setup, the fire would have been prevented or at least mitigated, Gorman said.
Peter Cooke, pollution prevention program manager for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, said people shouldn't start a home-based system in the first place.
"It's just not worth doing," he said. "You could burn your house down. You could blow yourself up."
Aside from those dangers, if a batch of fuel goes bad in the conversion process — as it often does with amateurs — it needs to be properly disposed of. If it's poured in the ground, it becomes an "environmental issue that's going to reverse any environmental benefits" of using a proper batch to power one's car.
He recommended people buy pre-made biodiesel if they want to be more environmentally conscious.
"Either that or drive less or car-pool," he said.
While the danger was low with Hansche's operation because he only dealt with 10 gallons, fire officials say larger ones that involve hundreds of gallons are a recipe for disaster.
Crafting government rules for home biodiesel operations may be hard to do, however, as home setups fall in a regulatory gray zone.
That's because it's hard to regulate what goes on in someone's home, according to the Maine DEP's Cooke.
"If you're a homeowner you can basically do anything you want in the privacy of your own home," he said.
What a load of crap.IMHO statements like this remove any credabitity that the writer may have! 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.
... isn't even close to being a credible argument. It's called an unsubstantiated opinion.
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