Bio-Diesel Processor Update

With my new2me 2000 Golf TDI parked in the drive I am continuing to ramp up sourcing the parts needed for making an Appleseed Biodiesel Processor.  Last week I was able to pick up a 58 gallon water heater on Craigs list for $50, and this weekend I got 4 15 gallon plastic carboys off of eBay for $33 each.  That is 20% off of new and lets me check another piece of the system into the “used” category.  Here is the likely price breakdown:


1 Water Heater:                    $50

4 15 gallon carboy’s             $125


2 Steel Drums   ($0-50 each)

2 Plastic Drums ($0-20 each)

2 5gln Carboys ($6 each)

1 1/2 hp water pump ($35)

5 3/4″ valves     $8/each

Misc. plumbing   $30

Steel angle iron for stands    $0-20

Kerosene Burner (optional) $80

Total outlay:  $600ish

Even buying everything with the optional carboys and burners!  The kerosene burner will let me heat/dry the biodiesel using biodiesel (less than .25 gallons per batch of 40 gallons) and the 15 gallon carboys will make sourcing the Waste Veggie Oil (WVO) much easier as they are sized to be able to be picked up.  

This set up will let me make a batch a week, or 2500 gallons annually which is 400% more than I need.  Pricing of methanol drives my final price, but it looks like final product will be about $1.50/gallon vs. $4.05.  Payback will occur at about 200 gallons, or 4 batches.  Nice.  I only use about 30 gallons a month so figure 6 months of time or, what, about a 100% APR on my investment not factoring time.  I’ll take it.

After I have the process worked out so that I can make good fuel consistently, I would like to begin switching from methanol to ethanol as the catalyst.  Methanol is sourced from natural gas, and is much more toxic than ethanol.  In the end I would like to grow an oil crop like canola or sunflowers, press the oil out using a screw press and make BD out of the oil.   the left over seed cake can then be processed into ethanol, with the left overs there either feeding livestock or going into a methanol digester.  This system can work, though I am not aware of a setup that interconnects them in such an intergrated permaculture way.  So that is for 2009!


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