We're homesteaders, lets do what we do best!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by greg273, Sep 1, 2005.

  1. greg273

    greg273 Well-Known Member

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    I see you are in Missouri, I'm from not too far away in southern Illinois. I've been making biodiesel for about 4 years now, and am a member of the St. Louis Biodiesel Club. We hold open-garages every once in a while to discuss techniques for producing fuel, and also maintain a Yahoo group list to keep everyone posted about various biodiesel related topics.
    If you have a source of waste vegetable oil, you can proudce biodiesel for about 60cents a gallon, not including your time. The time you spend on the process is really a matter of how efficient you can be, and keeping your handling of the oil to a minimum. (at least this is what i strive for). I would estimate that on a 100litre batch (~25gallons) I spend maybe 2 hours, and my process is far from as efficient as it could be. My intial outlay for a processor was about $100, mostly for a new 1/4hp motor to power the mixer. I mix the oil and reactants in an inverted 55gal drum, with the mixer attached. There are other processor designs, the most popular being the 'appleseed' model, which uses an old electric water heater and an inexpensive pump to circulate and mix the oil. A setup of this sort will run you about $120.
    There are many resources available on the internet, but you can Email me if you have any questions. I'd be glad to help a fellow homesteader on the path to a more self-sufficient lifestyle. Biodiesel is not the ultimate solution to our energy needs, but it is definitely a good step in the right direction.
     
  2. BearCreekFarm

    BearCreekFarm Well-Known Member

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    DH has been looking into wood gasification. I haven't paid much attention to his research, but he is encouraged by what he has read. He has carte blanche to buy whatever materials and supplies he needs to convert a vehicle and a generator to wood gas.
     

  3. halfpint

    halfpint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We are looking into using cooking oil in our diesel vehicles/tractor. Our neighbor says he puts cooking oil (he owns a restaurant) after filtering in his diesel truck without any processing and uses half diesel and cooking oil. I thought you had to produce biodiesel or buy a conversion kit for your vehicle so we're not sure what to do right now. Is anyone here familiar with using cooking oil in a diesel?
     
  4. whitemadhouse

    whitemadhouse Active Member

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    I have been tinkering with using it for my furnace, which runs on heating oil...which is diesel fuel.
     
  5. shakeytails in KY

    shakeytails in KY Well-Known Member

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    I previously scoffed at the idea of bio-diesel homebrew. But now I'm seriously considering it. Check out this website and it's forums- http://biodiesel.infopop.cc/groupee

    The only thing I have now that's diesel is the 2 farm tractors, but I'm seriously considering replacing the farm truck w/ a diesel and having DH drive it to work and keep his 1/2 ton gas 4x4 as a spare vehicle. I'm not giving up my Sentra 'til it dies- it's been paid for for a good long time and gets better than 30mpg.
     
  6. shakeytails in KY

    shakeytails in KY Well-Known Member

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    greg273- I just ordered "girl Mark's" book, haven't gotten it yet- maybe tomorrow. Are there any other references you have found invaluable?

    And I'm curious- did you have help (in person) figuring out how to make quality fuel, or did you learn as you went? It appears to be a simple process, but looks can be deceiving!
     
  7. moldy

    moldy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks so much for the link - it looks very helpful.
     
  8. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the website. We have a Dodge diesel and a JD diesel tractor. Might have to use your hints as diesel was $2.99 here today; should continue to go higher. We are in AZ.
     
  9. lonewolf

    lonewolf Well-Known Member

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    In the state of Liberty and Freedom I create.
    While both biodiesel and ethanol are good ideas to pursue, you have to figure out how much non-renewable energy you are using to obtain your biofuels.

    Second, with waste vegetable oil, if you are in cool or cold winter climate the veggie oil will solidify in the fuel tank and your fuel lines unless you can heat both the tank and fuel line. That is why you shouldn't mix the veggie oil and diesel together in one tank. However, the conversion kits that have a separate tank for the veggie oil will allow you to use it in cold weather.

    I'm not sure how to overcome the high viscosity problem, but once it is, one should be able to run a vehicle in all weather on 100% of veggie oil.

    As for ethanol, it is wonderful, yes, but I'm not sure we can produce enough to fuel vehicles it straight. Also, I'm concerned about the use of non-renewable fuels to make the ethanol (tractors to plant and harvest the crop and moving the crop to a conversion facility). Don't get me wrong, I support the use of biofuels, I just want the process to produce them to be thought out and use as much renewable resources as possible.

    I use the special kit for the diesel engine in my truck so that I can start it in winter. Whenever I need fuel I load up some 55 gallon drums and have to heat the waste oil bins at restaurants then pump the oil out. I process it on the homestead and then fill my truck out of that. I still need to use diesel to start my truck and to clear the lines before I shut it down. Sometimes I still have to burn straight diesel as there is only so much fryer oil I can pickup in my area.

    I still have no real alternative to using gasoline in my ATV or chainsaw as I'm hesitant to use too much ethanol in them without knowing what it may do to the fuel system and engines.