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Here is a description of my biodiesel
As a general overview, this is a vacuum type reactor. The prototype
is a 30 liter size and I have completed a 90 liter size. I
the vacuum approach because it has several significant advantages over
other types of
reactors. I don't like the idea of pressurizing a plastic
container which contains methoxide to force it into the reactor.
I can use vacuum to
draw the methoxide into the reactor which has less potential for an
accident. Similarly it can be used to draw the oil into the
reactor. Vacuum also allows rapid
drying of the oil prior to the reaction which is essential, and saves
much time, and also allows rapid drying of the fuel at the end which
also saves days per batch in process time. Vacuum also lends itself to
methanol recovery which I consider to be not optional from the
perspective of sustainability and environmental responsibility. I
chose to use forced
exhaust at the methoxide mixer, liquid trap and vacuum pump to increase
safety in the use of the system.
Safety is always the primary concern and then after that every effort
is made to optimize the effectiveness of the system for obtaining a
quality result. As much as possible I try to use parts that are
commonly available and wherever possible work to reduce overall cost by
careful selection of components so long as it doesn't compromise safety
and quality. The reactor is designed with long term reliability
90 litre system in use at
Latest update: Dual zone thermometer added. November 10,2006
Home hardware had an indoor/outdoor thermometer for 10 bucks. I
grabbed one. It has a sensor on the end of a wire which is supposed to
go out the window to tell you outside air temperature. It has a built
in sensor as well for indoor temperature. I modified it to have
both sensors on the end of their own wire so I could monitor the
temperature in the reaction vessel and the temperature at the vacuum
port simultaneously. Here
is a description of how I modified it with pics so you can DIY.
Previous update: August 11, 2006
The Everdale reactors are running now. Time to get some more built for
Previous update: June 28, 2006
The process description for the single stage base catalyzed reaction on
the vacuum reactor is here.
The advanced process description which includes methanol recovery and
glycerin separation is here.
Igot a hydrometer and calibrated it myself at room temperature by
adding water to pure methanol and made a graph of the results, and here
it is for those of you doing methanol recovery. My recovered
methanol generally comes in at less than 10% water content so 1Kg of 3A
seives per litre should do the trick for drying. Recycling is so much
Previous update: June 15, 2006
The build manual for the 90
litre system is published under the creative commons license and
includes the parts list previously uploaded so I have deleted the link
to the parts list which I had previously. Now you can get both
the manual and BOM here.
Previous update: June 02, 2006
I have uploaded the 90 liter
reactor parts list. It is also published under the Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. No
manual as yet but it is similar enough to the small one that anyone
with half a brain and some very solid technical skills can take the
ball and run with it.
Previous update: May 24, 2006
have added a safety interlock for the heater in the hot water
tank. This prevents the heater from being accidentally energized
when there is no liquid in the reactor. Bill of materials is finalized
now and the build manual is complete. They may be downloaded here and are
subject to the creative commons license. Share away. Spread the word.
Peace, Love and all that.
Previous update: March 24, 2006.
I think the design is done now. I don't see anything
that needs improvement anymore, so I am focusing on the construction
manual now and BOM. Lots of stuff to do to get ready for teaching
the course. This is exciting! BTW thanks to everyone who
came out to the meeting March 14th. 24 people who want to do
something good for the environment in the local area! It knocked
my socks off!
Previous update: March 07, 2006.
Work on the construction manual continues. I am approaching it
from the perspective of a course manual since I am going to be putting
on weekend training courses where we will build a reactor as a group,
or actually several small groups each taking a part of the reactor and
then assembling the complete system at the end. To this end I am
putting together an excell spreadsheet with a parts list as a BOM (Bill
of materials). I'm making good progress
with this. In other news the plumbing has been re-rationalized
and as is usually the case I look at it now and wonder why I didn't do
it that way from the start. Actually I know why. I didn't know
about how high to mount the pump and whether it would prime itself
properly so the tubing gave me options there but now the pump is
rigidly mounted on its inlet pipe. I also added some mods to deal
with the liquid trap in a more user friendly fashion. There will be a
meeting in Waterloo north at Sobeys at
the corner of Columbia and Fisher Hallman at 7:00 pm Tuesday March 14,
2006 to discuss the direction and goals as well as organizational ideas
of the not for profit fuel cooperative. This will be an
opportunity for those of you who contacted me over the past year to
meet and voice your opinions on where we should go with the cooperative.
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