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Thread: My Ambient/ Room temperature Biodiesel Production

  1. #1
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    My Ambient/ Room temperature Biodiesel Production

    My Ambient/ Room temperature Biodiesel Production



    Lately there has been a bit of discussion about making biodiesel at room temperature- without heating.
    To my great amazement, there are one or two people on this forum who did not know, and still apparently refuse to accept that you can make biodiesel at room temperature if you wish to.

    In the early days of biodiesel production, there were several “commercial” producers who routinely made their commercial biodiesel at room temperature.
    I have always heated in the past, originally using solar heating and for the last few years I have used an immersion heating element scavenged from an electric stove- but it is certainly not required.

    I started this years biodiesel production this week and have decided to forego heating and do all the reactions at ambient temperature.
    I have 2- 150 litre total capacity reactors that are mixed with a drill and paint mixer through the top cover as well as a hp “Orange" Regenerative Turbine Pump recirculating from bottom to top.

    I do not routinely titrate, the oil is always around 1KOH titration.
    My car does not require high conversion biodiesel so I make no attempt to pass the Warnqvist test.
    My formula is 130 litres WVO, 14% methanol (18 litres), 9.2g KOH per litre of WVO (1.2kg).

    I have made two batches so far.

    My reactors sit outside in the sun and I run the reaction in the middle of the day when things have warmed up and I have returned home.
    Both reactions have performed flawlessly- I mixed for two hours in both instances and I had clear separation of the byproduct and biodiesel.

    I checked the temperature of the mixture in the processor a few minutes after beginning mixing after it has stabilized.

    On the first day the temperature in the reactor stabilized at 47C- On the second day the temperature stabilized at 45C. That is very close to what I would usually heat to anyway.

    I have another batch ready to go this afternoon when I get home.
    At present the temperature of the WVO in the reactor is 23C
    I will update this afternoon

    Last edited by tillyfromparadise; 13th October 2017 at 09:47 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: My Ambient/ Room temperature Biodiesel Production

    Tilly, Can you please try the reaction with oil that has not warmed up to 40+C? How about waiting until you get home before adding the oil to your reactor (oil that has been stored out of the sun). This will make for a more valuable result for us in far less Tropical locations.
    Our overnight temperatures were as low a 14C last night and that was warm for this time of year in Perth.
    Life is a journey, with problems to solve, lessons to learn, but most of all, experiences to enjoy.

    Current Vehicles in stable:
    '85 Mercedes Benz W123 300CD Turbodiesel single tank using 95% used cooking oil and 5% to 10% misfuel (where someone had filled diesel vehicle with petrol).
    '06 Musso Sports Crew Cab. Running on used cooking oil with 5% to 10% misfuel.
    Toyota Camry Hybrid - (Wife's Car)

    Previous Vehicles:
    '90 Mazda Capella. (2000 - 2003) My first Fatmobile. Converted to fun on veggie oil with a 2 tank setup. Died when supercharger stuck at max boost for weeks. Stretched head bolts.
    '80 Mercedes 300D. 2 tank conversion [Sold]
    '84 Mercedes 300D. 1 tank, no conversion. Replaced engine with rebuilt OM617A turbodiesel engine. Finally had good power. Donor for current Fatmobile coupe. (body parted out and carcass sold for scrap.)
    '99 Mercedes W202 C250 Turbodiesel (my darling Wife's car)[sold]
    '98 Mercedes W202 C250 Turbodiesel (my car)[sold]



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  3. #3
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    Re: My Ambient/ Room temperature Biodiesel Production

    If I didn't heat my WVO in the winter it would be solid, so its not going to work for me.

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    Re: My Ambient/ Room temperature Biodiesel Production

    Hi smithw,
    Quote Originally Posted by smithw View Post
    If I didn't heat my WVO in the winter it would be solid, so its not going to work for me.
    That is the one overriding stipulation. Everything MUST remain liquid. That is why I ONLY make biodiesel in the spring/ summer.
    In any event, I have so much WVO available, I give away any oil that will solidify in the winter.

  5. #5
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    Re: My Ambient/ Room temperature Biodiesel Production

    Hi Tony,

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony From West Oz View Post
    Tilly, Can you please try the reaction with oil that has not warmed up to 40+C? How about waiting until you get home before adding the oil to your reactor (oil that has been stored out of the sun). This will make for a more valuable result for us in far less Tropical locations.
    Our overnight temperatures were as low a 14C last night and that was warm for this time of year in Perth.
    I did the testing concerning this years ago. As long as everything remains liquid, temperature is not a limiting factor in the production of biodiesel.
    However, I will try to set one off first thing in the morning on Sunday when the oil should be around 20C- 25C.

    I arrived home around 11:30 this morning and set the first batch off at around noon.
    Prior to adding the methoxide I mixed the oil with the drill to make sure there was no stratification of the temperature in the oil. The temperature of the oil had risen from 23C this morning to around 31C at noon.
    After adding the methoxide and mixing, the temperature stabilized at around 41C.

    At about 2:00pm I performed the same procedure with a second batch and found that before adding the methoxide the temperature of the oil was around 33C.
    After mixing in the methoxide the temperature of the mixture increased to around 41C and stabilized at that temperature.

  6. #6
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    Re: My Ambient/ Room temperature Biodiesel Production

    FYI my method can be used in the middle of winter with the temp at 8 degrees. The biggest problem I have is with the recirculating pump that does the mixing - at that temp it struggles with the viscosity, but once the reaction begins and the viscosity drops you hear it change pitch and Bob's your dad's brother..

  7. #7
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    Re: My Ambient/ Room temperature Biodiesel Production

    Hi Mark,

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    FYI my method can be used in the middle of winter with the temp at 8 degrees.
    Other than taking a lot of time and using a huge amount of KOH, there is nothing special about your method. As I said in my above post " As long as everything remains liquid, temperature is not a limiting factor in the production of biodiesel."
    During my testing I cooled the WVO and Methoxide down to around 4C and successfully produced a batch of biodiesel

  8. #8
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    Re: My Ambient/ Room temperature Biodiesel Production

    Hi Mark,

    Other than taking a lot of time and using a huge amount of KOH, there is nothing special about your method.
    There isn't? Then why this?
    Lately there has been a bit of discussion about making biodiesel at room temperature- without heating.
    As I said in my above post " As long as everything remains liquid, temperature is not a limiting factor in the production of biodiesel."
    During my testing I cooled the WVO and Methoxide down to around 4C and successfully produced a batch of biodiesel
    Did you? You didn't mention that above - you were talking about 23-47 degrees.

    So now all the threads on this site that talk about heaters can be removed and you'll be changing the "Dr Pepper" method to take out the bit where it says to heat it?

  9. #9
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    Re: My Ambient/ Room temperature Biodiesel Production

    Presumably Tilly the process you did at 4degsC (based on the rule of thumb you always mention) took in excess of 24 hours mixing to convert it.

  10. #10
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    Re: My Ambient/ Room temperature Biodiesel Production

    FYI the other advantage of my method is that because of the very high catalyst concentration, a stirrer is not required. An el cheapo pool pump from EBay (set to recirculate) provides sufficient shear to make 1000L at a time

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