My machine is giving me fits generating goop in the methanol tank. The factory tells me I am the only Biopro 150 to have this issue. They are working with me to correct the problem. I thought I would float it out there to see if any other Biopro users are having this issue.
I have had my machine for about a month and the past 5 consecutive batches have resulted in goop in the methoxide tank. It appears that biodiesel is getting in there and reacting with residual methoxide forming soap.
Bummer is I have to clean out with water after every batch - adds a couple of days to my cycle.
Are you completely certain that your Lye is dry? Just a guess.
Not sure how to be completely certain. It is stored in an airtight container and is not caked up. It seems that NaOH gets pretty chunky when exposed to atmospheric moisture.
It appears that oil/biodiesel is finding its way into the methoxide tank and reacting with the residual methoxide forming the soap. I get it at the end of the process - typically during the drying phase.
Methoxide mixed with Lye then mixed with oil wont make soap unless the oil has a lot of soap in it already. You would be seeing other problems from wet oil. I wouldn't entirely rule it out but it's not my first guess.
My separate methoxide container has never had goop in the tank. What are you using to transfer methanol from its storage tank to your BioPro? Are you using a pump for oil and for methanol?
Since I don't know how that machine operates, you're probably well served to ask Graydon about that issue.
I was really interested to see if other Biopro users were seeing a similar issue.
Actually in my experience it will make allot of soap.
Sometimes I forget to valve off my sight tube when I start the methoxide delivery, this will send a large dose into the site tube that remains there for about a half hour with no agitation until the delivery is done. This will turn all the bio in the tube into soap..
Simple schematic for a pump and heater control with a high limit
Sensor for the biodiesel/glycerin layer
I have a 190, and I've never had that problem. I don't know of anyway that finished BD ca get into that tank, it's just a pump out operation.
My methoxide tank didn't empty completely once. Cleaned it out with vinegar and water. Maybe that would help.
The more I know about biodiesel, the less I know about biodiesel.
I may come off as sarcastic or funny. That's because I am.
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Life is WAY too short to not laugh anytime you can.
I meant to say that lye and methoxide mixed with oil won't make soap unless the oil has water in it. I don't know what I was thinking. Anyway, getting a sludge in the methanol tank must be rather unpleasant.
The methanol and methoxide tanks on the Bio Pro's are vented into the reaction tank. I can only assume the single tank on the 150 is also. I had a problem with the 380 when the wash water pump failed and I was washing with a hose end sprayer. I overfilled the tank and floated the bio thru the vent hole into the methoxide tank, resulting in a mess.
I would slowly fill the tank with methanol and listen for the telltale sound of liquid flowing into the main tank. If it is less than full, the weld is broken or the vent misdrilled. If it is full you may have to use a mirror to locate the vent hole and make sure your wash water level does not reach that point.
I have a BioPro 150 and I had a similar problem recently. I used too much NaOH and the internal "plumbing" got all clogged. There was a lot of goopy un-reacted NaOH and Methanol (It didn't mix enough to make Methoxide).
I siphoned as much liquid as I could into a separate container then pored it into the main tank. I did this a few times to loosen the stuck propeller in the methoxide/Methanol tank. Lo and behold! The propeller came back on!
I had to remove the black top cover to access the pipe that transfers the liquid from the methoxide/methanol tank. There is a small in-line filter that you can remove and clean. I used vinegar. Also, I put vinegar into the pipe to loosen the dried NaOH. I then replaced everything except the filter and turned the pump on to evacuate what liquid was in the tank. Eureka! The pump came on and cleared the pipe to the main tank.
I then replaced the in-line filter and added some more vinegar to the methoxide/methanol tank and let it mix for an hour or so to loosen what leftover NaOH was in the tank. I then pumped the contents into to the main tank, heated and mixed the main tank for several hours. After all this I got a reaction, granted not a perfect reaction, but a reaction nonetheless.
If you need any further info about the parts that I described, I'll try to post some pics.
The Methoxide tank is not sealed from the main reaction tank, while string a wash cycle I have had bio enter the methoxide tank and create goop as you have described. This along with the methoxide stir paddle falling off have prompted me to dissemble the unit. photos to fallow
That's a good point and it makes me glad I put a ball valve on the venturi that will suck in the methoxide. I just figured it might be a good idea, but now I see that I should have that valve OFF whenever the pump is not running.
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