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Ok. I built/plummed the reactor according to the diagram, but forgot that I wanted to add my methanol by using a venturi valve and recirculating my oil through it (I don't have a methanol-friendly pump).

I don't pretend to be a plumber, so is there any way of making this work without major retrofitting for the plumbing? I've thought of a couple of ideas, but none of them seem really 'good'.

Thanks,
-Scott


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots..."
Pictures of building my processor
 
Location: Louisville, KY | Registered: January 31, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
I don't pretend to be a plumber, so is there any way of making this work without major retrofitting for the plumbing?


I hope you won't pretend not to be a welder... Wink
Very nice work. Congratulations!

About the venturi, looking at your pics I'd think a good, easy way to add it would be to disconnect the sight tube from the upper pipe (look at picture # 48), an install the venturi in place of that "T" (or build it in the "T", using Graham's method). You can then connect the upper end of the sight tube right besides the heater reservoir, with a third "T" between the ones already in place.
I may be wrong (I'm also not a plumber), but it seems to me like the easiest way to do it.

BTW: I like the color you chose. It will remind you of all the "green" you're saving... Big Grin


************************

"When you don't think what you say, you say what you think" Jacinto Benavente.

"Wars not make one great" Yoda.

"A pessimist is a well informed optimist"

WWVhaCwgSSdtIGEgZ2Vlay4gU08gV0hBVD8=
 
Location: Miami, Florida. | Registered: April 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Nice fabrication. You seem to have really got on with it from scratch to finish. How long did it take you to do it?

What is the green tower?


mathematical elegance -- desired result achieved with minimal complication
 
Location: Manchester UK | Registered: June 03, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for the compliments...my dad did the welding, so I can't take credit for that (I did the grinding, the knuckle-dragging, and the heavy lifting, if that counts for anything).

bernyjb:
Thanks for the ideas about the additional "T" and bringing it in there...that makes sense, and would likely work better than anything else I was thinking about.

Ant:
It took me researching for a few months to design what we wanted, then about 3 weeks of "after work time" for him, welding the tank and stand together, and finally, about a week and a half in getting the stuff together and fabricating the drywash columm (again, in the hours after my day job was done).

The green tower is the drywash column...I will have two of them eventually, but am waiting for the second one to get here (I bought one and decided to build the next one...I ended up getting the second one built before the guy delivered the first one, so I'm still waiting for it). I'm going with the MacroBioPure and/or PD206 from ArborBioFuelsCompany.com. I've talked/emailed both guys from there and they are very helpful and responsive...if I were doing it again, I may have just bought directly from them rather than building a tower.

I'll try to figure out how to draw out the plumbing for this with the additional T, and see how it would work.
-Scott


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots..."
Pictures of building my processor
 
Location: Louisville, KY | Registered: January 31, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Thanks for the ideas about the additional "T" and bringing it in there.


You're welcome. Glad I could help.
Remember (maybe you already know this, but i figure it doesn't hurt to say it, just in case ) that you have to put an additional valve in the venturi suction line (the line to the methoxide tank) so you can close that line when you're pulling the vacuum for dewatering and demething.


************************

"When you don't think what you say, you say what you think" Jacinto Benavente.

"Wars not make one great" Yoda.

"A pessimist is a well informed optimist"

WWVhaCwgSSdtIGEgZ2Vlay4gU08gV0hBVD8=
 
Location: Miami, Florida. | Registered: April 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Nice work Scott! Look forward to hearing how it all goes. May I refer to your work on my website?

Graham


Rover 75 + Skoda Fabia on B100
http://www.graham-laming.com

Bicycle on G100 12,000 miles p.a. ( http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/GrahamLaming )
 
Location: UK | Registered: December 04, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Hey Graham,

Thanks for all the ideas. I'm using both the processor and the in-line heater from your website.

By all means, feel free to use any pictures/info you would like on the site. Once I get my pump, I'll be finishing the plumbing and will be taking much more detailed pictures and then labeling them to indicate what's going on in each.

I'm getting somewhat frustrated that I haven't heard from the people I purchased my pump through for a while...I was hoping to have had it here long before the processor was completed, and they haven't been answering their phones lately.
-Scott


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots..."
Pictures of building my processor
 
Location: Louisville, KY | Registered: January 31, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Another question that I haven't been able to get an answer for in reading through the thread a couple times:

When putting in the neutralizing acid to get the glycerine to fall out, how are you able to visually see the indicator of this (especially if it is a 'flash' indicator)? I can add acid directly to the top of my batch, but I can't SEE my batch because its a closed reactor. Given that it's a pressurized environment, how do you guys see this? Do you just circulate through your sight glass, or what? (I don't know if I could even see it with my sight glass, as it is a 1 inch teflon-lined tube, which may be too thick to see stuff through).

I haven't seen much discussion about how to see the indicator to see if you have the proper amount of acid...it could be that I just missed this part of the discussion in the 14 pages of posts (good reading, but my head spins each time I go through the stuff).

Thanks for any suggestions or help.
-Scott


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots..."
Pictures of building my processor
 
Location: Louisville, KY | Registered: January 31, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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As an answer/solution to the question above, does anyone have a way of calculating the "average" amount of sulphuric acid/HCL one would need to complete this reaction.

If I had that (and couldn't finda good way of viewing the visual indicator), I could simply go on the "average" and reduce it by ~20% (the idea being that I'd rather have too little acid and a slight possibility to back-react than to have too much acid -- maybe that's not a good idea).

If someone has a basic formula, I'd be happy to put it into a quick spreadsheet calculator for easy download.

The values/parameters I can think of that you may need to build such a calculation (not sure if you would need all of these, I'm not a chemist) would be:

Type of catalyst (NaOH vs KOH)
size of batch
titration of oil (or would this matter?)
type of acid
purity of acid

Anyone up for figuring out a basic calculation/formula and we can give it some tests? Or is this a bad idea and should we just rely on the visual indicator instead (if so, I'll still need some help figuring out the way to make mine work).

I did find some discussion on this, back on page 12, but not enough to really give me any ideas other than that I need it to go through the sight glass. My though is that if i only put in enough to see it react in the sight glass, that's only enough to react with <1 gallon (what my sight glass probably holds), compared to a ~90 gallon batch.

Thanks again,
-Scott


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots..."
Pictures of building my processor
 
Location: Louisville, KY | Registered: January 31, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
When putting in the neutralizing acid to get the glycerine to fall out, how are you able to visually see the indicator of this (especially if it is a 'flash' indicator)?


One idea would be to put a sight glass downstream of the acid injection point. If you look in page 8 (about half page) Ant posted a series of links for sight glasses that would work. Besides that, we're supposed to inject the acid very slowly, so that would insure that the acid concentration at the sight glass would be just slightly higher than the rest of the batch.


************************

"When you don't think what you say, you say what you think" Jacinto Benavente.

"Wars not make one great" Yoda.

"A pessimist is a well informed optimist"

WWVhaCwgSSdtIGEgZ2Vlay4gU08gV0hBVD8=
 
Location: Miami, Florida. | Registered: April 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I did not find the term "conductivity" (as in conductivity cell) in a search of this forum, so forgive me if it's already been suggested. I would expect electrical conductivity to change with addition/reacion of acid, and should be easier to detect. Has this been discussed or investigated? I'm not setup to try it easily, although I have an idea for a simple beaker-size experiment.
Cheers,
JohnO
 
Location: Moses Lake, WA, USA | Registered: August 15, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Scott, I have the same concern regarding the injection of acid. If you look for a color change while injecting acid in the small amount of oil in the pipe that does not mean the entire tank has been dosed properly.
Perhaps putting a sight glass at the output of the tank prior to the point of acid injection would more accurately reflect the entire batch.
If you have any suggestions let me know as I'm doing the plumbing on my 120 gallon reactor now.
Dave
 
Registered: June 25, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Hummerbk,

I put my injection point at the top of my tank, and I'm thinking I may do a downflow through the tank, then through the piping which includes the sight glass, to come back out the top and continue circulating that way. I think I may set up a thin place where I can view the indicator at the beginning of the piping (thus, the indicator would have had to go through the entire body of the 90 gal tank before showing at the sight glass...

I don't know if that would work, but maybe...
Also, I don't know what the effects of overdosing the sulphuric acid may be (in the event I can't see it). Someone on here indicated that it may just drop out as salt. Is that true?

As a second possibility, maybe it goes where you do your methanol mix into your oil for the appropriate time, then draw out a liter and 'acid titrate' that (sorry, couldn't think of a better term for figuring out how much acid you need) and see how it works for one liter, then calculate for your batch according to that and mix in the calculated amount (say, keeping out 10-20% for safety measures).

It may be a little more labor intensive, but wouldn't that work (plus, if you mixed the acid into your drawn liter, you would have a better time of mixing it into your larger batch without the fear of the acid getting on your tank and burning your metal, correct)?

I feel like I'm just throwing farts at the wind with these ideas, so please let me know if any of them have merit, or if anyone else has a better idea of how to do it. I'd inject into my tubing before the sight glass, but I don't have a good way of doing it that I can think of.

Thanks,
-Scott


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots..."
Pictures of building my processor
 
Location: Louisville, KY | Registered: January 31, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Darn it Scott, you beat me to it.

I was thinking about doing an acid titration that would tell you exactly how much acid to add to neutralize the base solution in the oil.

You would only need to draw off a few ml. of oil to do it.

As far as adding too much acid, I don't know if its better to have too high or too low a PH.
 
Registered: June 25, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Graham,

I'm sorry if i have missed this in previous discussions or posts, but, what was the point of reversing the direction of flow during the methanol recovery phase?

Is this necessary if you have sufficient agitation via flow rate? What is this really doing for you?

Thanks a ton in advance

Wes

edit: just went to your site and read the write up. Seems that there is no process issue for reversing the flow, it is simply based on trying to reduce pump burden and/or wear and tear.

edit 2: I know the clear site glass is dual purpose, the first to check level, the second to be able to view the indicator during the acid add phase. I propose that it would be better to eliminate the site glass and replace with a site mount level switch(es) and a manual draw / titration of the completed mix. This will reduce the complexity as well as allow for a more accurate titration.

edit 3: Why are there 2 points where flow comes from the pump discharge and into the top of the tank? Same question but with the exits - why two pipes?

edit 4: I think you could get away without V10 and replace it with a union. This valve is always open during the process, so, why is it necessary to have a valve here? I would propose putting a manual valve at the inlet to the plumber's delight condensor so that there is no methanol loss during processing instead.
 
Registered: May 20, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogma721:
Graham,

I'm sorry if i have missed this in previous discussions or posts, but, what was the point of reversing the direction of flow during the methanol recovery phase?

Is this necessary if you have sufficient agitation via flow rate? What is this really doing for you?

Thanks a ton in advance



My understanding is as you remove the methanol from the glycerin it become thicker and instead of having your pump work extra hard to pump the ever thickening glycerin collecting at the bottom you reverse the flow so you are pulling the biodiesel off the top of the reactor which will have less glycerin in it compared to the bottom of the reactor.

So yeah in a nutshell less wear and tear.

quote:

edit 4: I think you could get away without V10 and replace it with a union. This valve is always open during the process, so, why is it necessary to have a valve here? I would propose putting a manual valve at the inlet to the plumber's delight condensor so that there is no methanol loss during processing instead.

I believe that is for isolation. If you ever have to mess with your system that is full and need to isolate the tank then you can close off the valve and go about your business.


quote:
Originally posted by Murphy: In short, this place is like a multi-dimensional bull$hit detector on steroids
 
Location: In the Pacific Somewhere | Registered: January 25, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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my question to that is, what would you be messing with on a full processor? especially if you have recovered your methanol - as you are messing with it, especially if you are using NaOH you could be ending up with a solid block of yuck that would be very difficult to remove.

I know its 10 bucks for the manual valve. So, it's not exactly a huge deal.

Back to the first point. You could simply get a bigger mama jamma pump designed to pump high viscosities. Plus, if you are pulling the glycerine around (where a big chunk of your methanol is) you would be pulling the methanol off at a higher rate than if you were simply pulling biodiesel and then indirectly mixing the methanol by pumping the biodiesel into the bottom of it.

Anyone know what the worst case viscosity would be? i.e. how big of a pump/motor would i have to go with to ensure that the increased viscosity wouldn't be a problem? Could i simply go with a cast iron gear pump driven by a 1 or 2Hp motor?
 
Registered: May 20, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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In this particular thread and/or page a sight glass/tube has been mentioned. More particularly in the conversation it would seem the sight glass would be in-line of the production/processing plumbing.?

What type clear tubing can be used in-line of the processing plumbing that can withstand the chemicals, pressure and temperature associated with processing? ...and be clear enough to allow the wizard/technician to visually inspect the liquid for particles,color, etc...?

Thanks,
Scott C.
 
Registered: July 11, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Scott,

Graham is using the sight glass to provide a means of visually inspecting the mix of glycerine, biodiesel, methanol and pH indicator so that he can see the indicator change when he starts adding acid to neutralize the catalyst prior to distilling the methanol off.

I propose to get rid of it and then take a sample and do a titration, then slowly dose that amount of acid into the mix. It reduces valves, simplifies the plumbing etc.
 
Registered: May 20, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogma721:
if you are using NaOH you could be ending up with a solid block of yuck that would be very difficult to remove.


I believe as long as it is still hot it will be liquid but will start to gell and get solid as it cools. So if you had a pump that could pump it then perhaps it would work for you.


quote:
Originally posted by Murphy: In short, this place is like a multi-dimensional bull$hit detector on steroids
 
Location: In the Pacific Somewhere | Registered: January 25, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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