Documenting my home BioDiesel equipment and process.

What would you think leads most people to this website?
Guessing games about oddball old cars? Nope.
Stories about vintage car rallies? Nope.
Commiserating about unscrupulous mechanics? Nope.

When I look at my website stats the #1 search term month after month is “WVO Filtering”… pretty odd stat for a site mostly about my noodling about with a gasoline-powered vintage car eh? I guess people are more interested in my mundane daily habits than my occasional sunny-day passion. Oh well. So I’ve decided to give the people what they want.

I’ve been slowly building and trying to perfect a small BioDiesel processing system out in my barn, and while I’ve mentioned it a couple of times before here I promise over the next few weeks to lay out what is involved, and what components are used. Unlike my “beauty shots” of old cars that usually grace this website, I’m going to be honest with you, this stuff is ugly. Making BioDiesel from waste vegetable oil is a filthy, dirty job. As a result, the area where I do this dirty job is not very pretty.

Let me remind everyone of one important point: I’m not doing this to save the planet. I do this to save my wallet. You can call it enlightened self-interest, but really it is just an expression of independence. I’ve driven Diesel cars for a long time; half the cars I’ve owned in life have been powered by Diesel engines. I’ve done this because they are efficient and frugal… sort of like me. 😉 This process is no different in nature.

I’ve always been curious about things mechanical, and so embarking on this particular journey seemed natural, though it has been a slow process. I’ve had help from other people along the way, and I’ll try to mention them here. I am by no means finished, and I know as things evolve they’ll improve, so don’t view this as a definitive series on homebrewing.

Stay tuned as I explain it all starting from the beginning.

8 thoughts on “Documenting my home BioDiesel equipment and process.”

  1. And just so the random readers know, burning WVO instead of dinodiesel DOES NOTHING TO SAVE THE PLANET. Burning oil is burning oil, and it produces CO2 that is exactly the same and has exactly the same effect as CO2 from any other source. If you want to stop polluting, then stop combusting.

  2. I thought that generating carbon from a current source is somehow better than pulling carbon from XXX million years ago out of the earth’s crust and blowing it into the atmosphere??

    I’m not a scientist though. I’ll let you resident scientists inform me how that all works.

    I do get to grab a bit of moral high ground however, I’m close to being energy-independent. The more of this I do, the less I contribute to our nation’s use of foreign oil. A back-burner project I have is to build a generator on my property and be able to go off-grid. After our big storm of 2006 it is probably a good idea.

  3. Dan said:

    “And just so the random readers know, burning WVO instead of dinodiesel DOES NOTHING TO SAVE THE PLANET. Burning oil is burning oil, and it produces CO2 that is exactly the same and has exactly the same effect as CO2 from any other source. If you want to stop polluting, then stop combusting.”

    Not true, Dan:
    You’ve now stepped a bit into my field, geology. One of the BEST sources for this info, easily presented is the Nat’l Geographic of October 2007.
    In fact, over the PLM (product lifetime management) of biodiesel, vs. dino diesel, BioD has about 68% FEWER greenhouse gas emissions than does dinoD.
    One unit of fossil fuel energy IN to bioD equals 2.5 energy OUT.
    However, growing ENOUGH feedstocks to supply the bioD we’d need…not so easy.
    So what Chuck is doing, in fact, is making his a lighter footprint kinda thing.

    Now, I get in trouble EVERY time I say this, by the wild-eyed enviroweenies but…we DON’T need to save the planet: No *matter* what we do to it, including dropping every nuke humanity has, in its insanity, would only make life impossible for us, a few thousand species of mammals…and then, in 10 or 20 million years hence….the planet will be juuust *fine.* Cockroaches will like the decaying meat….:)

    It’s *our* asses that’ll need saving! I have grave doubts we will…

  4. 2.5x the energy output for .33 the pollutant cost?? I don’t buy it. I’d like to see the proof, and with physico-chemical data. And, define exactly what you mean by “one unit of fossil energy in to biod equals 2.5 energy out”. I recall an article in Atlantic Monthly (2003 or 2004) which showed that the industrial farming required to provide sufficient vegetable matter to make fuel cost almost as much petro fuel as it produced veg fuel. The AM is just about as scientific as NatGeo.

    ES&T has an article from 2000 in which the investigators discover “significantly lower” PM, “moderately lower” CO and HC, but NOX unchanged and no mention of CO2.

    And this article from 2006 indicates lower particle number and size due to greater oxidation and oxidation rate, which would indicate greater generation of CO2! (Though they apparently did not measure for gases, only particulates.)

    Show me the proof and I will be convinced.

  5. Formula 1 racing is hard work. Especially for me, because I keep the accelerator mashed flat. But afterwards, I like to unwind with an ice cold Red Bull.

  6. “Show me the proof and I will be convinced.”
    Workin’ on it! As a scientist, when collecting supporting data, I takes me time!

  7. Heh…reminds me of a cartoon that is posted all around dis joint: shows a well-dressed man, escorted by beautiful women, who’re spreading flower petals in front of him, and a lead person, saying, “Clear the way, swine! Here comes a geologist!”

    No ‘backing off, ‘ just gathering what the DoD asked for…;)

Comments are closed.