Biodiesel from rendered fat??

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Marilyn in CO, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. Marilyn in CO

    Marilyn in CO Well-Known Member

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    Hubby has a new vision, anyway new to him. We have access to lots of beef fat and so it says on the net, you can render the fat, add three ingredients and there you have it. Anyone done this? Our farmer neighbor friends are getting all inspired and ready to do this as a group project to run our tractors, engines and generally say nix to buying gas and making our own....biodiesel that is. Are we crazy? smart? simplistic? or are we really on to something? Is it really as easy as it sounds?
     
  2. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    DH's best bud is researching this. He already runs his old Benz on straight veggie fuel.

    One of the by-products of bio-diesel is glycerine, which would be nice for soapmaking. He's promised me all the glycerine I want once he gets his bio-fuel operation up.

    If you go to ... argh, what's the name that site... Path to Freedom! They talk about bio-diesel. You might want to give it a look-see.

    http://www.pathtofreedom.com/

    Great site!

    Pony!
     

  3. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ..............Biodiesel and Cold temp's DOnot mix well . Even regular diesel has to have kerosene or some other ingredient added to keep the fuel from"gelling" during cold conditions . Biodiesel is what Willie Nelson has gotten involved in down around Abbott along I35 I believe . Try putting your intented mixture into a gallon glass jar and let it sit outside overnight and whatever it's composition "IS" , is eXcactly the way it will look inside of a diesel fuel filter come sunup when you try to start your tractor and feed your morning hay ration too your cows . fordy... :)
     
  4. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

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    I have a friend who uses the used frenchfry oil where he works, to fuel his car...I could ask him if it's used pure or if he adds anything, if you like.
     
  5. Marcia in MT

    Marcia in MT Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There was an article in our paper about a local guy who runs his pickup on both regular diesel and strained vegetable oil. The vehicle starts on regular diesel, switches to vegetable oil, then finishes on diesel again as he gets close to his destination and turns the truck off. He had to make some slight modifications to the vehicle (besides adding another fuel tank and its stuff) and sorry, I don't remember what they were.

    Anyway, he's happy with his set up and says it saves a lot on diesel. It was in the Great Falls Tribune within the last couple of years.
     
  6. The Paw

    The Paw Well-Known Member

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    There have been some earlier threads here on this, which you could search for some good links.

    I made some biodiesel with a 4H group a few years, and the drawbacks to the do-it-yourself version are:

    1. You have to use a fair bit of methanol to mix with this. This stuff is HIGHLY flammable, and not the safest to store, transport or dispose of.

    2. You also use lye in the mixing process, so you have to be careful with that.

    3. If you don't follow the recipe right, you don't get the right chemical reaction with the lye, methanol, and oil.

    4. It is labour intensive unless you do it in very large batches.

    I'm not saying it can't be done, but most people who do it are doing it just to show that it can be done....

    I think a more practical and convenient approach is the straight vegetable oil (SVO) system. You have a second fuel tank for the veggie oil, with a heater core in it attached to your radiator. You start the vehicle on regular diesel, and as the engine warms up, the veggie oil heats and liquifies, and you switch over. Just before you shut down, you switch back to diesel, so that the oil doesn't congeal and block the fuel injectors.

    This system allows you to use straight veggie oil, no mixing, no lye, no flammable stuff. Very little labour. I am not sure if it would work on beef fat, but maybe.

    Try googling greasecar.com, and they have pictures of conversion kits.
     
  7. pancho

    pancho Well-Known Member

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    Please go over to the shop talk forum and read the thread about the bio diesel gumming up from cold weather.
     
  8. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    Our eldest son runs his pickup from lard.

    Has for a couple years now.

    He loves it!

    He does have to cut it 10% in the summer to keep it liquid, and 20% in the wintah to keep it flowing good.

    Otherwise it seems to work fine.

    :)
     
  9. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Wonder how many miles you'd get per hog with a F350 Dually???
     
  10. sunnygrl

    sunnygrl Well-Known Member

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    as a soap maker seems a terible waste for all that beef fat to be made into gas instead of soap :)
     
  11. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    If it is 'biodiesel', it isn't wasted. Changing the PH balance makes glycerin which separates itself. The glycerin can than be used for soap.

    Only those who burn filtered lard or oil [sometimes called Waste-oil] would be doing it without separating the glycerin.
     
  12. KenPerry

    KenPerry Member

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    I was running my Jetta diesel on a blended mix of waste vegetable oil, gas and some diesel additives. It seemed to work fine but i came across some research articles from Europe from the '80's that found blended oil or straight veggie oil would eventually coke the injectors, or worse, stick the rings, causing engine failure.

    To me, the only safe way to do this is through the biodiesel process where the oil/fat is trans-estrified (sp?) removing the harmful glycerine and leaving a purer fuel to use. As others have stated, there would still be a need to 'cut' you bio in the colder weather to prevent clouding or jelling. Kerosene, regular unleaded gas or diesel fuel additives would accomplish this.

    Another thing to consider is the initial start up cost. A decent processing unit will cost $2000-$3000 but will be pretty much ready to go. The only other expense is the lye and methenol which works out to approximately $.60-$.70 per gallon. Some processors have a methenol recovery ability which helps reduce the cost. Another nice thing about the professional units, is they're sealed during operation which eliminates fumes and the chance of accidents.

    Here's a couple of useful links to check out...

    General info and tutorial
    http://journeytoforever.org/biodiesel_make.html

    Biodiesel blending study
    http://www.biodiesel.org/resources/reportsdatabase/reports/gen/20050728_Gen-354.pdf

    Biodiesel processors for sale (google for more choices)
    http://www.homebiodieselkits.com/homeprocessors.html