So I've been making biodiesel off and on for the last two years now and have got my process working good with reliable results using a basic apple-seed processer with a dry wash in 35 gallon batches. I do a lot of driving in my landscape business and use bio whenever I can to save money and also use that as selling point for some of my more "earth friendly" customers and also sell glycerin soap to them as well. Thing is I spend too much of my time devoted to making 35 gallon batches and would like to move up to something larger like 100, 150 or 200 gallons. It got me thinking the other day about why wouldn't an IBC 275 gallon tote work for that? Obviously you'd have to have a larger pump/pumps, more custom piping and a custom setup for a heating element but otherwise why wouldn't one work? My batches are always around 130° F and from what I've read the totes maximum temp tolerance is 140° so why have I not read about anyone using one before? I am pretty much already planning to build one soon but I'd like to hear some opinions before I start spending time and money first.
I share your frustration of the limits of a 40 gal reactor.
Many people would discourage you from using plastic however...look around a bit...
Unless all your heating is done externally...I think...
It seems that a propane tank or equivalent provides a very safe vessel that also allows vacuum distillation for speed and ultimate efficiency...
Yeah, I thought about it a little more today and just the safety concern about the HDPE possibly cracking, warping or my element somehow coming in contact with the walls or bottom and the horrendous mess or safety hazard that would make made me change my mind. I believe my dad has a very large air compressor tank that he doesn't use anymore because the pump is toast and I'll see what he plans to do with it. It's large, probably at least 100 gallon but I'm thinking more like 150 and it's a vertical too. He's also got a large horizontal propane tank (probably close to 200 gallons) in the bushes and I believe he can't have it filled anymore because it's the older style valve so it's kind of worthless really. He hasn't used it in probably 10 years.
I still plan to use the totes though. Probably use one as my settling tank, one as my pre-dry wash holding tank. I may look into the idea of doing the whole batch de-meth but not sure yet. Probably just a large open top tank to spray and evaporate like I've been using. Works good that way!
I agree with dannodiesel about using a mental tank for a processor. I have been making biodiesel in a Fuel Meister which is a plastic 55 gal tank with a cone shaped bottom. I heat my oil before processing and so have to be careful not to put the oil in if it is too warm and if you do get the oil too warm, you have to wait before putting in. It is my understanding that you could process at higher temperatures than 130 degrees and with a plastic tank you sure can't do that with out worry of the tank deforming. My tank is still working but having a larger processor should save some time as it seems it would take approximately the same time to make 40 gals as it would to make 150 or 200 gals in a larger processor. I have a 100 gal propane tank and now am thinking that would make a good processor.
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