Biodiesel and SVO Forums Home
GL's Ecosystem processor - who is using it?

This topic can be found at:

July 20, 2007, 10:03 AM
GL's Ecosystem processor - who is using it?
Hi folks,

I'd like to ask anyone who is using the EcoSystem processor scheme to report how you find it, any problems, suggestions for improvement etc.

The EcoSystem processor is described here.

This will help to develop it further for others in the future.

Thanks and regards,

This message has been edited. Last edited by: GrahamLaming,

Rover 75 + Skoda Fabia on B100

Bicycle on G100 12,000 miles p.a. ( )
July 20, 2007, 06:17 PM
I'm using the system and I'm very pleased with it - no water washing, no filtering, no emulsions.

In my experience, you don't need to heat to 90*C during the water drying stage - 75*C is plenty. With the venturi drawing in air, it takes about two hours to cool to reaction temperature, after which time, the oil is dry. Which brings me to the next point - react as close to the boiling point of methanol as possible. I aim for 63*C and react for 90 mins. You'll lose a small amount of methanol initially but it is only a small amount (~50ml or so). As for removing water, during the methanol removal stage, I only heat to 75*C, then turn the heater off. Stop collecting when the methanol flow slows to a drop every few seconds - this takes up to 3 hours. Finally, after pumping the bio into the settling tank, I throw in a bubbler to remove the last trace of methanol and water - about 2 hours. Though the amount of methanol is tiny, I make sure the shop is well ventilated during the last step. After two days settling, the bio is soap free.

Thanks for sharing your ideas freely Graham!



Free collection of waste cooking oil in the Nottingahm area
July 20, 2007, 10:38 PM
Bright Young Maverick
I am, with Jamesrl's help with venturii (venturis?)

Agree with Twenty4seven -- much easier to "finsh" the fuel with less methanol.

Wondering about using it for methanol recovery - have yet to do so.
July 21, 2007, 01:02 PM
Great Job, with a lot of good info.

The question I have is what if any impact does all that copper and brass have on the process? I know this issue has been talked about in the past. But it seems, like you use a large amount of copper and brass in the project.

To date, all I have used is stainless. Had to make a lot of custom parts. So how is that copper working out?

July 21, 2007, 05:39 PM
Hi Graham and All

My new 55g cone-bottom reactor has done two batches using dry wash.

The dry-wash concept came along during construction and I modified the pump outlet plumbing to incorporate a plastic venturi above the drum, set up as a bypass to the main flow. The venturi is really a fertilizer injector.

On the first batch I was able to get about 60% methanol recovery and I decided the venturi wasn't really providing enough suction, due to the design of the venturi and the awkwardness of the layout.

On the second batch I injected compressed air into the oil flow with better results, although an amount of methanol escaped to atmosphere because it was no longer a closed system. Still achieved good recovery, but managed to fill my compressed air hose with bio by accident.

Both batches I evaporated off remaining methanol from the wash/settling tank by circulation and heating, then filtering into a third tank and recirculation filtering. Neither of these has a cone bottom yet, but plan to in future.

Jamesrl has provided me with plans for a venturi to place in the main pump outlet oil flow, which should improve things.

Other than that, I'm very pleased with the concept.
July 21, 2007, 08:26 PM
jon h.
I had to modify the GL process - so I am only using elements of it. I am limited, for now, to 110 volt power. I found that it was taking forever to heat the BD above 150F. I also had poor luck making a venturi. I wound up using a refrigerator compressor on the end of the plumbers delight for dewatering and for methanol recovery.

Without the aid of vacuum for dewatering and recovery it was taking me 12plus hours to make it to the settling/filtering stage at the end. With the vacuum I can quickly dewater and it only takes 1/2 hour at 140f to remove the methanol. Maybe I'll take another crack at the venturi if I can get 240volt power to my work area..... For now I have gotten the processing time down to 7-8 hours.
July 22, 2007, 02:55 AM
Hi Graham et al,
I´m setting up your system in the moment, but with some changes. I`m building a 210l reactor with copper heat exchanger inside, to get rid of the problematic water heater inside the reactor.
So I can fullfil the ATEX goals by separating reactor and heater. For the heat exchanger I use a special heat transfer oil which has a usable temperature range from -40 up to 230°C.
Using a standard continuous flow heater with 18KW power consumption and electronic heat control, the heating times should be minimized.
The heating system will use a 3/4" heating pump for circulation. The circulation pump will be a air powered membrane pump with a capacity of abt 5000l/h. The collection barrels for the recoverd methanol and the byproduct will be 50l KEG bear container for ease of connection to the closed system.

I hope to finish the system in september, first batches will be in october when I can move to my new site for BD production.

vy 73 Dieter
July 22, 2007, 08:30 PM
Dave Calkins
Originally posted by Paulus:
Hi Graham and All

My new 55g cone-bottom reactor has done two batches using dry wash.

On the second batch I injected compressed air into the oil flow with better results, although an amount of methanol escaped to atmosphere because it was no longer a closed system.

Why is this? Even with a drum processor, you could be running the compressed air through a condensor and be collecting the methanol. After the condensor, it could be vented to the outside, so even if it is not a closed system, you could collect it before it gets vented.

July 22, 2007, 08:55 PM
Exactly. That is what I did. Ran the vapour coming off the reactor through the condenser and then out a vent pipe. It was a chilly day and I noticed quite a bit of vapour condensing as it came out the vent pipe. Hence my statement that an amount of methanol escaped to atmosphere.
July 23, 2007, 11:12 AM
What are these systems using for heating? The concept looks interesting and the schematic makes me wonder it might be compatible for an appleseed retrofit.

Unfortunately, all the thermostats I have seen for water heaters don't go above ~ 150F (65C). Is there an economical way to regulate these hot water heaters to 194F (90C)?
July 23, 2007, 05:41 PM
I am pretty sure they are using electric elements. I do not know what thermostats they are using.

You could probably retrofit a furnace aqua stat, with some relays, and other bits. You would need a relay to handle the amperage as the aqua stat is low voltage or a line voltage with low amp ratings.

We use a hot water furnace. So we have 205F water available for what ever use. From day one, when friends and I set up our “bio shop” we agreed, we wanted to use an oil fired furnace for a few reasons.

We use the same 205F water for everything.
We heat the bio shop with it.
We heat the processor with it.
We preheat meth with it.
We heat WVO with it.
We heat every thing that needs heating with it, very little needs to go above 205F, and much less under a vacuum.

Using electric for all this heating, even excluding the shop, just seems like a lot of watts to dump down the drain, when most of us (the bio community) can run almost straight clean WVO in the furnace for the cost of collection and cleaning.

We control separate heat exchangers with simple mixing valves and injection pump set ups which would be very familiar to any plumber who has done a lot of radiant floor heat work.

Craigslist, look for an old hot water oil furnace. We got ours for free. We just had to go cut it out and get it out of the basement.
August 03, 2007, 04:43 AM
I am using the ecosystem, or something vaguely approximating to it :-)

All the best

August 06, 2007, 02:19 AM
Graham we are just starting to use it here in Michigan. I'll give you a complete breakdown of our experience as we trial several different ways of accomplishing the same outcome.

By the way did you see that new "ionic liquid" washing research on biodiesel being performed at the University of Leicester:

Anyway they want to work with a biodiesel producer to test out the processes on a larger scale than in the lab. The ionic liquid is apparently "green chemistry" since it is non-reactive. It is supposed to provide for a pure glycerine by-product.

Let me know if you follow up on this...


Causing a Regenerative Economy
August 11, 2007, 03:44 PM


August 13, 2007, 10:59 PM
i'm using it too. using 40 gal water heater w/ harbor fright pump. basically converted appleseed. 1/2 inch home-made venturi. only using thermostat as temperature control. plans for PID (and or distillation under vacuum), cone/round bottom reactor and settling tanks and a MUCH larger pump.
August 29, 2007, 02:12 PM

We plan to process 55 to 300 gallons per hour of reaction mixer using the GL 1-day Eco process with the additional step of a resin bed purification system.

We are presently working out the difficulty in immediately removing the residual soap and glycerin following methanol removal.

Following air injection using either the venturi method or actual pressurized inlet during 1.5 - 3 hours of recirculatoin, we are sending the batch through 100 mircon type Sta-Sieve. The soap slimes up and can be squegeed off however residual glycerin goes right through so we need a clever way to deal with this glycerin. We may just use some kind of cascading/riser plate system to seperate out the Cleaned biodiesel and then send it forward for resin bed polishing.

Although it may not be down to 150 ppm it should be well below 500 ppm residual stuff and this is a near continuous flow process rather than having to weight 24 hours or so for settling.


Causing a Regenerative Economy
August 30, 2007, 02:43 PM
Originally posted by GCG:

We are presently working out the difficulty in immediately removing the residual soap and glycerin following methanol removal.
# we are sending the batch through 100 mircon type Sta-Sieve.

Erm, why not just filter it more finely?
August 31, 2007, 12:18 PM
Hibbo, right now we only have 100 micronish carbon steel screen. We plan to take the filtering down to 10 microns as Graham Lamming describes in the 1-day process however we don't have any experience with sta-seives of this level. We may go to 10 micron polyester box shaped filters but don't have these presently.

The idea though is to have a process that is very low maintenance or perhaps with filter clean out/replacement once a day or for 1250 gallons of demethylated bio...


Causing a Regenerative Economy
September 01, 2007, 11:25 PM

Have you looked at using sintered metal filters for the applications below 100 microns? I'm thinking of a sintered metal filter following a resin bed as a final stage to my process. Currenty I end at a 5-15 micron water filter with no resin.

September 02, 2007, 11:34 PM
sintered metal filters


Thought about going to the advanced production classes held by Girlmark - was this one of her's?

Sounds like it was great!

Never heard of Sintered Metal filters before (and you think you know a few things!). Looked them up ! Several different varieties. One looked much like the screens we have for our 48" SWECO unit, however we don't have a screen <100 microns.

If we could get a SWECO screen that is 10 Microns then we'd have a continuous low maintenance process nailed!!!

How often do you have to change out your house water filters on 40 gallons of biodiesel???


Causing a Regenerative Economy