Biodiesel and New Energy

Focusing on kinetic and electrical energy, particularly biodiesel, ethanol, and new hydrogen economy.

Monday, May 29, 2006

When Making BioDiesel...

This is a resource on the internet. Use with caution and other research.

When you are making biodiesel, you should take some of the best oil you can haul away for free, or use coconut oil because of it's high quality and litres per hectare of production.[*1] If you're hauling, titrate it to find the amount of free fatty acids, using this chopstick method i've heard so much about.[*2] If the Ph is too high or the free fatty acid count is too high [above perhaps 10 drops of lye required] then the biodiesel is not going to be so excellent ad will be difficult to make and could damage your engine.


So water and oil do not mix. Biodiesel is oil. However, there are mono- and diglycerides in the oil if it is poor due to impartial reaction. These are emulsifiers and, like cinco de mayonnaise, cause the oil to hold water. The water is not good for your engine and the mono-s and di-s will clog your injector, i am told. I say fry em off, but that's a hassle and tastes terrible.

I have been told that to remove the water from biodiesel you can add epsom salt. The epsom salt may actually absorb the water and then settle out or be filtered. That would be a fine method to remove the junk from your BD mix.

*1 - plus, coconuts rock
*2 - link found below for 'titration'

Biodiesel vs Vegetable Oil

Many of the possible pitfalls that an engine experiences from using biodiesel come from improper production. Biodiesel process is basically taking vegetable oil and replacing an ethyl- chemical group with methyl, using methanol and lye to get it to react. This makes soap and introduces slow-burning methanol to the fuel, both of which can be very bad for engines, and also allow for the possibility of water in the fuel which is also bad.

If your biodiesel comes out the other side with no soap methanol or water in it, and fully reacted by using the correct amount of lye, it will be a good deal for your diesel. Commercial producers can control and guarantee this status.

But you might not always be able to. Can you just run straight vegetable oil? If it is appropriately filtered to remove cooking particles and is of a favorablly neutral pH, and if you have installed a tank and fuel line heater, it should perform suitably. Should is the word, though.

It could be linseed oil, which is more corrosive. It could be very fatty oil, in which case it'd contain more bits and junk and contribute to clogging. You may still need to dewater the vegetable oil, which could be done with epsom salt, which would then have to be filtered out, or just boil it off, which takes a lot of energy.

It would also be a good idea to have the fuel entering your pistons be at around 160-170*F [~75*C] because that is about the viscosity of #2 diesel fuel, which your diesel's injectors were tuned for.

this can be achieved with a good fuel tank heater. it seems that most of the common problems of biodiesel and svo can be addressed with a fuel tank, fuel line, and piston heater, and properly prepared fuels.

i bet it's a lot easier and cheaper to prepare biodiesel than it is to make 93 octane, and that a fair deal less pollution is created in the process.


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