Energy & Sustainability
DIY: Biodiesel processor
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This instructable has a lot of great advice on making your own biodiesel. You should learn as much as possible about the process since it can be dangerous. However, it’s a great way to use waste vegetable oil (WVO) and reduce pollution.

This type of Processor is called an appleseed processor. It uses an old (or new if you feel like dropping the money) water heater. The amount of fuel you can make will depend on the size tank you use. My first prototype uses a 10 gallon tank. Not too efficient if you plan on making large quantities, but great for figuring things out.

Learn how to make a Biodiesel Processor

Related:
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12 thoughts on “DIY: Biodiesel processor

  1. Much better than burning your old veg cooking oil would be to cut down your use and dependence on the car in the first place. Oh, and if your driving a lot in your car and eating so much fried food that you have enough veg oil to process in the first place then you could also do with changing both your diet AND your lifestyle! But well done anyway…

  2. While it is a noble goal to reduce the car usage, I feel that your attack is off-base.

    First, Diesel cars are already get some of the best MPG of vehicles in the USA: usually close to that of a Hybrid (My TDI Jetta gets 40mpg, about the same as my Girlfriend’s Civic Hybrid)

    Most people I’ve heard of reprocessing WVO into BioDiesel don’t actually use that much cooking oil themselves, but I bet your local Pub/SportsBar/burger joint/etc cleans out their deep-fryers fairly often. Usually, they end up paying a fee for someone to hall it away and reprocess it, so they are MORE than glad to give the 10+ gallons waste they have away.

    So it is a matter of RECYCLING a waste product into something they can use in their car. My experience is that if he’s homebrewing BioDiesel, he’s also probably not BUYING Dino-Diesel.

    It’s a Win-Win-Win situation: The Bar is happy to be rid of the oil without paying a fee (thereby making it cheaper to operate and keeping prices lower), The reprocessor is happy that they don’t have to buy Diesel at $4.25 a gallon, and the environmentalists get reduced Crude consumption.

    It’s not a completely rosy proposition- you still have to be careful with the chemicals, and if you’re not careful you can produce sub-standard BD, which will cause engine issues.

  3. What is the advantage in using energy to process the WVO into biodiesel vs. using the WVO itself as fuel? Is it simply to avoid installing heated fuel lines, or is there an advantage gained through the biodiesel conversion that warrants the energy expended? It seems like people in the U.S. are more into converting WVO into biodiesel, while people in Europe seem to be using the WVO directly. What problems occur as a result of not converting the WVO into biodiesel?

    BTW — How do you pay your road use tax?

  4. It is great that we have choices if we are willing to put in some time and effort. One of the problems with comparing the US with Europe is that there are several problems with comparing the US with Europe.

    Europe has a wonderful public transportation system. You can live virtually anywhere and not have to own a vehicle. In most instances public transportation is less expensive than operating a car or truck. If you do live where the zip code is EIEIO an inexpensive scooter will get you to the bus or train stop. General Motors in the early part of the 1900’s managed to talk most of the large cities into using buses and tearing out their trolly car systems. How many are now kicking themselves in the aft over that one? The Feds are also keeping AMTRAK from being successful. They have sold off almost all of the rail lines that they owned. When taking a ride on AMTRAK you will find yourself sitting on a siding for 20 to 30 minutes waiting on a freight train to come by. It used to be the other way around. They had appointed a director in the late 1990s that was bringing the system up to where it was viable transportation and reasonably priced. It also was about to be solvent. They fired him.

    Europe also has diesel engine vehicles that are designed to use WVO or SVO. I’m sure that their WVO requires some work such as at least straining the french fries or chicken parts out. There were diesel engines that were built in the early 1900s here in the US that were designed to run on soybean oil. Henry Ford tried to hire George Washington Carver who was a professor at the Tuskegee Institute to work for him to develop biodiesel from soybeans. He did develop biodiesel. He also stayed at Tuskegee as a professor for 1/10th the salary so he could do plant research with no strings attached.

    The energy to convert the WVO into biodiesel is far less than that required to crack the crude oil down into jet fuel, heating oil, diesel, kerosene and gasoline per gallon. Though a lot of the WVO that is collected here is going to places that do put it to use we can use it personally just as well.

    Then there is the fun in doing it. People make their own beer. People make their own wine. And there is a show in TV about making your own liquor. Personally I would never do that. It is illegal. Home brewed technology is in our genes. If we can do it then why not? Its fun.

    G.

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