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newbie questions- heater elements - PVC pipe
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I'm building a really cheap reactor with steel drums. Plan mount a water heater element in the 2" bung- (drums inverted) The 110 volt lelments are 1500 watts- it would take like 4-5 hours to heat 30 gallons. Thinking 4500 watt, 220 VAC element wil probably draw 20 amps - that would be better.

I'm going for cheap becasue I am not sure what my oil collection will look like, I have about 100 gallons from a small canteen. (took 6 month) I don't want to approach any restaurants until I can commit to it and i don't want to commit to it until I know that making bd is practical for me.

So, will PVC hold up for a few batches?

thanks


Clueless and curios about bio diesel
 
Registered: August 18, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by dave silva:
So, will PVC hold up for a few batches?

thanks


It might hold up.. but the consequences of a failure could be catastrophic so why take the chance?

Just use black iron pipe.. its not that expensive...


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Registered: March 09, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Correct me if I'm wrong (really, i have very thick skin) PVC will hold up, it's the cement that will fail? SO threaded fittings and valves should be OK, right?


As for the consequences of failure- probably only inconvenient. The processor will be on a small trailer and towed to the far side of the property whenever it's loaded and operating.

But what about the heater element question? I'm thinking it take quite a long time to heat 40 gallons with only 1500 whats.

THanks


Clueless and curios about bio diesel
 
Registered: August 18, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by dave silva:
But what about the heater element question? I'm thinking it take quite a long time to heat 40 gallons with only 1500 whats.


That's going to come down primarily to your insulation. I used to heat ~30 gallons of oil at a time in an appleseed / water heater based reactor. It frequently reached processing temperature in under an hour, but that's largely due to very good insulation. I was using a 240v element at 120v, which means I had roughly the same heat going into the system.

I don't care where you are on your property -- a 40-gallon grease fire is more than an inconvenience. Add in the higher volatility of eight or ten gallons of methanol (plus caustic) that will be in play, and I personally wouldn't chance it on plastic fittings. As said above, black iron is cheap.

Cheers, John
 
Registered: June 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ok, never mind the PVC. I came across a 5 gal and 10 gal drink cooler, the big round type from which they dump Gatorade on the winning football coach. Perfect for making 10 gallon batches.

I put about 8 gallons of oil in it then heated 1.5 gallons on the stove in a pot with a locking lid. Heated it to around 275, poured it in, raised the overall temp to 145 and it stayed warm for several hours. I think that will work really well for small batches, I can get familiar with the chemistry and then upgrade the processor

Thanks for the info on the heater element.


Clueless and curios about bio diesel
 
Registered: August 18, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Coolers work well, however be very careful what you use to stir the mixture, the methanol fumes from an open reactor are seriously toxic, and they're very flammable/explosive.

To make this "Igloo" reactor safe use a brush-less motor mounted on the lid; connected to a paint stirring drill attachment through a small hole in the lid.




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



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The idea of standing over an open vat of methanol & lye is pretty unthinkable to me.

I was thinking I could mix it with a spare lift pump I have for my truck (Dodge/Cummins)

Might not be the most aggressive agitation but given that the mix will stay hot for a many hours, it should work pretty well, right?

Maybe mount it so it discharges along the side of the tank , creating a whirlpool, and then stick something in there to break it up for better agitation?

I heated the oil to 140 yesterday at 11:am and it is now (20 hours later) down to 104F (of course it's stupidly hot right now, like 85 deg overnight)

thanks


Clueless and curios about bio diesel
 
Registered: August 18, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If your making batches that small you could likely just shake the thing, no pump needed.
I dont believe those lids seal though?
For my old 100L reactor I used to mix my NaOH and methanol in a 60L HDPE drum by just kicking/rolling it around the yard for about 1/2 an hour.
Cheers,
Jon
 
Location: Wellington County, Ontario Canada | Registered: February 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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