Anybody made biodiesel?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by snoozy, Mar 20, 2004.

  1. snoozy

    snoozy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I noticed an ad in Mother Earth News selling a biodiesel "still" and it intrigues me. Has anyone here on the forum made biodiesel?

    The website is www.makebiodiesel.com , if you're interested. The set-up they sell costs $3,000. Says it makes 40 gallons in 24 hours, using 40 gallons of waste fryer oil, 8 gallons of methanol, and 2 packets of Red Devil lye. Supposed to be able to make it for 70 cents a gallon, and you can use it in any diesel engine without any adjustments or alteration to your engine. Undoubtedly one could make a "still" from scratch...

    And if you have looked into it and decided not to pursue the idea, why? Any good websites you can recommend?

    I guess one of the byproducts is glycerine -- what can you do with that, besides lube a pig?
     
  2. farmerscotty

    farmerscotty Well-Known Member

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    good e groups on Yahoo about this.......I am learning and am going to make some this summer for my tractors.............

    Scott
     

  3. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    Countryside had an article on producing biodesiel last year. Pictures, formulas, process directions and safety and health warnings.
     
  4. Jackpine Savage

    Jackpine Savage Well-Known Member

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  5. rainesridgefarm

    rainesridgefarm Well-Known Member

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  6. snoozy

    snoozy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    So those "Accubeads" have some heavy metals in them and you regenerate/recharge them by baking them at 350F till they stop giving off white smoke, which (the website says) should not be done within 300ft of people? Hmmn. So the idea is that you filter fried impurities physically and remove the water chemically with the beads, and then you mix that with 20-50% regular diesel -- do I understand the basic idea? It seems to not be as cleanburning a fuel as biodiesel.

    The byproduct of the lye process is glycerine (impure), which www.makebiodiesel.com says is compostable. Hmmn. It doesn't say how much glycerine is siphoned off from each batch. Nor does it say how much the methanol costs. Hmmn.

    So much to think about.
     
  7. brosil

    brosil Well-Known Member Supporter

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    From a conference I attended this weekend, 100% biodiesel starts jelling at 32deg. F . Mixing it with regular diesel lowers the jell point.
    Glycerine is often used in soap.
     
  8. 65284

    65284 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My truck is an very large investment that I depend on to perform well at all times. I have a dread of breaking down, especially away from home, where you are even more at the mercy of unfamiliar/dishonest mechanics who often seem quite willing to take advantage of someone in a bad situation. I would NEVER chance put any of this junk into my truck, diesel engines are not only a large initial expense they are also horribly expensive to have repaired. Has anyone researched the possible consequences of driving on public roadways with this untaxed fuel? In Missouri there is a road use tax of about forty cents per gallon on diesel, and if you are caught burning red diesel on the road you will pay a huge fine and face possible confiscation of the vehicle. This tax is also collected on propane used as motor fuel so I suspect there would be taxes due on this too, it wouldn't be worth it to me to have to constantly worry about getting caught, the other considerations aside. When everything is factored in how long would it take to break even? Taxes, the cost of a still, or which ever method is used, chemicals needed, the time and expense of collecting used cooking oil, which you would have to do on a regular basis not just when you wanted some, the possibly toxic waste disposal problems, and very real probability of damaging an engine if a bad batch was cooked up just isn't worth it. The folks peddling this equipment/info paint a very bright picture, but I suspect they are less than candid about the true costs and possible ramifications of doing this.
     
  9. Greg_G

    Greg_G Member

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    Want to see some people who actual do this and have no monetary incentive to have you buy anything?

    http://www.dancingrabbit.org/biodiesel/

    Very good site and they have some nice links too.
    Great people by the way.

    -Greg
     

  10. The very idea of paying taxes on fuel that you make yourself is ridiculous. Taxes on commercially available fuel make sense because we have to deal with the environmental impact of refineries, provide the infrastructure that allows fuel to get from point A to point B, provide a legal system that protects property and enables the flow of capital that allows the energy industry to exist. Plus over a billion dollars a week in mideast defense spending that is ultimately for the purpose of keeping the oil flowing. These are all very good reasons for taxing commercial fuel, but none of them apply to diesel fuel that you make yourself.

    When you fix your own truck do you volunteer a payroll tax to the state for the work that you did? Of course not. Economic transactions can be morally taxed, but not something that you do or make solely for yourself. Anyway, I wouldn't let some idiotic tax like that stop me from making my own fuel if I was otherwise inclined to do it.
     
  11. Any way you slice it, it is going to be a major inconvenience to make your own fuel. Time is money, and most of us don't have enough of either. Spending money on a still to spend time making fuel is like shooting yourself in both feet. If you spend just two hours per week making fuel, thats over 100 hours per year or the equivalent of 2.5 work weeks.

    Granted, making your own fuel may be fun the first few times, but its not an enjoyable task like gardening, fishing or building furniture, its a chore. A stinky, toxic, potentially dangerous and time consuming chore.

    You can always tell how practical, convenient and enjoyable something is by how widely its used.
     
  12. shakeytails in KY

    shakeytails in KY Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like an interesting idea, but I'd have to agree with 65284. There is no way I'd put homemade fuel into my very expensive diesel engines! And the way I figure, I can buy a lot of diesel fuel for $3000, even at today's prices.
     
  13. Zack

    Zack Well-Known Member

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    I use 2400 gal a year currently. @ 1.30 gal = 3120.00, Bio @ .70 gal = 1680.00 I save 1440.00 subtract equip. cost say, 500.00 (you’re an idiot if you pay 3K for that processor) it comes to 940.00 over the year for 144 hr invested (3hr a week)= 6.52 hr first year and around 10.00 hr second yr.( Depending on how you want to handle the accounting) With lots of room for improvement, Batch size etc.
    Obviously current prices are much higher and savings may be greater but I would assume methanol prices increase with fuel prices. Ethanol would probably be a better choice in the long run.
    I have not found any data that suggests any harmful effects of biofuel on diesel engines as long as fuel quality is monitored correctly.

    Not sure bio fuel would be economical for farm use due to farm diesel being tax free.
    I don’t know what it cost per gal delivered to the farm.
    It would be nice feeling to produce your own fuel though.

    BTW That journey to forever site has some great info on a lot of subjects.
    Thanks for the link.
     
  14. snoozy

    snoozy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I suppose if I had a big diesel truck with which I made my living, I might be hesitant as well. But i'm looking at getting a small used diesel pickup for my everyday getting around and light duty hauling.

    [Zack, you posted at the same time I did -- you get diesel for $1.30 a gallon? Nice price! Can't get it for that around here.]

    We were thinking about the economics of it. If, as it says, you can make biodiesel for 70 cents a gallon, then each gallon you make saves you $1. If each batch is 40 gallons, and you use a batch a week, say, for 2 vehicles, then how many weeks of production will it take to break even? 75, or about a year and a half. More if you don't use do so much driving. If you went in on it with one other similar family, you're looking at breaking even on your initial investment in 9 months. That's a VERY reasonable alternative. (Of course, this is all based on hypothetical numbers.)

    And petroleum prices aren't going to go down (well, except around election time...) I like the idea of making use of an otherwise unsuable byproduct, too.
     
  15. Zack

    Zack Well-Known Member

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    I wish I could still get it for 1.30 I am paying around 1.55-1.60 currently. :waa:
    I was just being optimistic on the prices coming back down, we will have to wait and see. :confused:
     
  16. Zack

    Zack Well-Known Member

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    The only problem I for see is if Prices stay high the oil company will get into it here like they have overseas and your supply of free oil would dry up.
    You could I suppose grow your own but that seems like to much effort but I don’t know that for a fact.

    BTW way does anyone know what the fast food guys do with their waste oil currently? Do they pay or get payed to haul it off?
     
  17. snoozy

    snoozy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    They have to pay to get it hauled off. I read that there are 3 billion gallons a year in the US alone. Can anyone really conceive of a billion? Not all of that is best for bio-diesel, of course, but still...
     
  18. Just something to consider, but maybe it tells us how spoiled we are. Everybody wants to drive up to the pump, fill up, and roll on.

    Homemade Biodiesel is self-reliance fuel, not a mass market one.
     
  19. snoozy

    snoozy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes -- if I made my own biodiesel, then I really would be doing my part in reducing dependence on foreign oil. And I suppose it's somewhat like raising your own meat or vegetables, or doing your own building -- for many people, it's not worth it to them. Wouldn't hurt me to watch an hour or two less TV in a week either, now would it?

    All the websites people have listed here have some great info -- still wish I could hear from someone who actually does it.
     
  20. Marsh

    Marsh Well-Known Member

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    OK here is my two cents. Not that you want it but I would like to give it anyway.
    No we do not make our own bio diesel. There is a place in Maine where we buy it. It runs about $2.25 a gallon. Expensive, yes and no. Where we live in Massachusetts Diesel is running about $1.80 a gallon from the filling station. We get the same milage from the biodiesel as we do the regular. Only thing is you occasionally smell french fries from your tail pipe with the bio ROFL If you can get past that you are good LOL
    I do not know for the big rigs what it would entail to run it. But I do know in our Diesel Jetta and our Chevy Pick up we find no harsh effects from the bio. Just watch you fuel filter when you first switch to biodiesel. It will give the fuel system a good cleaning out and you may have to change it, after you first start using it. We like it. Many people might not. I think it is a matter of choice. I also don't see the cost of diesel nor fuel going down anytime in the future.And if we could make it where we live, we would in a heart beat. I rather like being slef reliant.
    Now if you question if biodeisel will wreck your engine. Well the car (2000 VW Jetta) we run biodiesel in has been fine on it. This car also was lent to a family member who filled it with Premium gas before. It has survived that and the biodiesel, with no engine repairs and 60K+ miles on it. We are getting roughly 45 to 52 miles per gallon with it.

    Ok my five cents worth sorry I rambled. Just like a woman to go on and on and on LOL

    Take Care and good luck in whatever you choose.
    Marsh