Super busy day running around gathering up parts for the processor, but significant progress was made. With the exception of a 55 gallon steel drum (open top) for the drying tank and misc. iron pipe all the major components are on hand or en route! The pic on right is the used 58 gallon electric water heater that I scored for $50 on Craigslist. Not sure how much sediment is inside it, but the outside looks to be in decent shape. That size will let me do 40 gallon batches which is sweet. To its right is my major coup of the weekend. It is an 80 gallon welded well tank. The steel is significantly thicker than a steel drum so it will weld nicer and it is already plumbed with most of the threaded holes I need. Best of all it has a drain in the coned bottom so it will drain 100% clean. I will need to add a vent hole to the top and probably one to the side, but it is very close to done. The well tank retailed for $280, but whoever special ordered it at Menard’s apparently backed out. I have been eyeing it on the clearance rack for a month where it sat for $75. Sunday I grabbed the plumbing manager and offered $50 to “take it off his hands”. Sold! It would make an incredible processor with its cone bottom (good for draining off glycerin), but until I figure out how to add heat cheaply it will be a settling tank for the WVO. WVO left to sit for 3-4 weeks is significantly easier to process and dry as all the junk settles to the bottom. The yellow can is me just being optimistic 😉
I have been scouring the region for plastic barrels and steel drums, and finally I was able to get my hands on 3 white (so you can see how full they are) plastic barrels for $20 each. Best of all I was able to fit all 3 into the golf in one trip!! The cubic feet available in that hatch is flipping unreal. One drum will be a washing tank for the processed Biodiesel, one will be used to store finished BD, and the final one will be an additional storage tank for WVO as it ages. This will give me the ability to have WVO on site that is “new” and another tank (likely the well tank) that is ready to go. Nice.
Also in the pic is the 1″ “clear water” pump from Harbor Frieght. These little pumps are almost legendary for their utility and bulletproof history. While typically $40 -already a steal, my good luck continued as this was their display model and they had it 50% off! This pump will be used to move fluids all around the system- from the settling tank to the processor, for mixing the WVO into BD, for transferring the BD into the wash tank where it will also do the washing, and then finally it should be able to pump the clean diesel into the storage tank. To have one pump do all that, you need ALOT of valves. I picked up 5 3/4″ brass valves at Farm and Fleet today for $5.50 each. Very close to completing the gathering phase, soon it will be time to assemble!
Total outlay so far is $275 with around $100 to go -all this for a kit that can make 2500 gallons of fuel per year. Unbelievable. With another $100 invested for more washing and settling tanks the kit can do 12,000+ gallons per annum -a batch a day. Sourcing feedstock for that would be a chore though.
Hopefully the 15 gallon carboys I found on eBay will get here soon so I can start gathering WVO -if so I will be on track for my 10/31 deadline!