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Bio Diesel for heating

Post in 'The Green Room' started by Catskill, Sep 24, 2008.

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  1. Catskill

    Catskill New Member

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    Has anyone had any experience using (or making) BioDiesel and fueling their oil burner with it? I know people here primary focus on wood but I thought it would be a nifty way for some to take another step toward their personal energy independence.

    Please post your experiences or thoughts. Thanks.

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  2. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    I have some experience, but your question is actualy too broad for a quick simple answer. More details please, for example, what do you mean by biodiesel? Todays general conotation of biodiesel is a mix of 20% vegatable oil and 80% petro-diesel. If this is what you mean, pour it in, it will run fine. If you are talking about true biodiesel (100% vegatable oil), it is a different story, and I will be glad to discuss it with you.
  3. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    I would think to simply make fire, there would be no need to expend the energy/time/money to make biodiesel...just burn the veg oil or WVO directly.
  4. Catskill

    Catskill New Member

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    Well, I worded it broadly because I'm looking to solicit every ones experiences. :) I didn't expect one size fits all replies. Some folks may get B5 or B20 pumped in by their local oil dealers and some folks may brew B100 in their garage. What are your experiences Mr. Dunebilly?
  5. AndrewChurchill

    AndrewChurchill Minister of Fire

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    I was already to start making biodiesel for heating my house until gas spiked and people started grabbing up all the used veg oil. I had my diesel car converted to run on used veg oil and I am finding it hard to gather enough oil for my 500 mile weekly commute.

    It's also not as easy as simply pouring in B100 since biodiesel reacts with copper. So any copper pipes need to be changed to stainless steel. Also, you have to have the oil pumped into the burner at 150 psi which with newer boilers isn't much of an issue but older boilers may need to have new parts installed.

    Biodiesel is an excellent solvent so any sludge that is in your old storage tank is going to start plugging up your oil filter so you'd want to be prepared for that.

    Buying biodiesel is much more expensive than K1 or K2 fuel. So the most cost effective solution would be to make it. It's relatively easy to do (I've done it), but you will be dealing with Methanol, Lye, and potentially Sulfuric Acid.

    Getting rid of the by product can be a problem as well.

    As a result of the above mentioned items I decided it was easier to buy a PB 105 pellet boiler.
  6. Catskill

    Catskill New Member

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    Thanks Andy... good info there.

    Dunebilly I'd like to hear about any experiences you'd care to share.
  7. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    I still don't know exactly what you are trying to acomplish, what is your source of biofuel? Aside from that, I will say that one of the most effective systems I have seen utilizes a small deisel genset. The coolant from the generator engine heats the house, the gen provides enough electricity above and beyond the needs of the house during the heating season that the excess power which is sold to the grid is then supllied back to the house in the summer, providing no electric bill at all. Diesels can be run on either pure veg oil, or converted veg oil, but the convertion adds time and expence. Gensets are ideal for pure veg oil because they don't need frequent starts and stops.
  8. Catskill

    Catskill New Member

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    Nevermind. Thanks for the reply.
  9. Catskill

    Catskill New Member

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    I can see your logic. I live in a fairly populated area and I'm going to investigate some possible sources for oil (just for kicks) and tinker with the idea a little bit more. I'm glad to see someone else had the same idea but I am a little supprised to see it not batted about here. Like I said before everyone here must be focused on wood.
  10. steam man

    steam man Minister of Fire

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    I have looked at trying biodiesel (not straight WVO) at home. Basically, up to 5% is no problem. Up to 20% you need to redo some fuel supply items because of the issues mentioned above. Over 20% you need to modify the burner pump seals, o-rings, etc... I use a Reillo burner and they seem to be the only ones who actually make a "biodisel use" kit for retrofitting their burners. I am not aware of Beckett, Carlin, or others that have approved over 20% biodiesel use yet.

    Mike
  11. Catskill

    Catskill New Member

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    More good info. Perhaps some research in a "Bio Ready" or a "Bio Retrofit" oil burner is in order. Thanks Mike!
  12. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Not biodiesel but along similiar lines. All the waste oil from our equipment and trucks is dumped in a settling tank for 2-3 weeks then filtered and drained into another settling tank and filtered once again after 2-3 weeks before being pumped into trucks ,generator, or equipment. My dad also mixes it with his HHO. My gen set and equipment are not as sensitive to the mix ratio as my trucks are. 3% max mix ratio for the trucks.

    Dad has been mixing waste oil with HHO for years and has had no problems.
  13. Tfin

    Tfin New Member

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    I've done a little research into the subject and I've heard everything from what steel man states to those that have been running B100 for home heating for over two years with no changes to their current setup and no issues.

    Lots of info out there. Here's a forum that discusses the topic in more detail:

    http://www.biodieselnow.com/forums/default.aspx?GroupID=2
  14. lepp

    lepp New Member

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    On another thread, KeithO posted a link to the cutest little wood stoves you ever saw for use on boats. The company is working on a BioDiesel version. Here's the link: (scroll down to the "Herring"). So there is someone working on this for hearth applications.

    http://www.marinestove.com/sproducthistory.htm
  15. Catskill

    Catskill New Member

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    I'm picking up my first load of WVO tomarrow. We'll see how it goes.
  16. eba1225

    eba1225 Feeling the Heat

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    Good Luck, keep us informed.
  17. Catskill

    Catskill New Member

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    Well, I've made a 2 liters test batch that's "drying". I'll post some pics what all is said and done. So far it's been a good learning experience.
  18. bayshorecs

    bayshorecs New Member

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    Wow. That is completely wrong. That is refered to as "blending", not biodiesel. I think you are confused about what is B20.

    B20 is 20% BIODIESEL and 80 petro-diesel. B5-B20 is becoming more popular at the pumps. B100 is 100% biodiesel.

    Biodiesel is made from converting vegetable oil, methanol, and lye (for a catalyst) into Biodiesel. It is not simple blending raw oil and diesel together.

    Maybe you know this already, but your post is very misleading.
  19. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    I think that's what he meant by "connotation."
    Too many people call biofuel biodiesel.
    and no, bio diesel is not 100% vegetable oil , it's transesterified vegetable oil, or alcohlized something or other. I can't pronounce the other term for transesterification. My tongue cramps.

    The same problems with terms happens with ethanol, E85 and gasahol discussions with laypersons like myself.
  20. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    I burned some straight WVO in my old woodstove last year. Kept the surface temp a nice steady 300 degrees. I filled a two pound coffee can about three quarters up with wvo, added about a quarter inch of kerosene to get her going, wadded up a paper towel and dropped that in for a wick and lit it. Incredibly, horribly, sooty. Not a good clean burn.
    I'd like to find a miniature version of a wvo furnace burner to mount in woodstove for stove top temps of 500 degrees. That would use a lot less oil than required for an oil furnace but enough to heat this old stone tomb we call a home.
  21. Catskill

    Catskill New Member

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    Some pics from making BioDiesel

    Ingredients: Waste oil, (edit) methanol, lye (Far right pic)

    Freshly reacted unwashed BioDiesel (Middle pic)

    Washed BioDiesel, notice the bi-product and water at the bottom (Far left pic)

    Attached Files:

  22. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    So now that you have done the work, cleaned the mess, bought the ethanol and lye, you may be interested in finding ways to utilize unprocessed or pure veg oil, if your supply is large and stable enough. For me, here in the land of fryolators, there are way too many people already taking the product, often without permission of the restaurant owners to even bother. I have helped others setup systems though, and as I said earlier, the very best of those provides the owner with heat and electricity, and utilizes unprocessed veg oil.
  23. bayshorecs

    bayshorecs New Member

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    You mean methanol, not ethanol. Those are 2 completely different things. BD CAN be made with 99% pure ethanol, but not easily by a homebrewer. Ethanol is too dry and pulls moisture from the air lowering the percentage to low-mid 90s. With that much water pickup, making quality fuel is very difficult.
  24. Catskill

    Catskill New Member

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    You are correct, a brain fart on my part. :)
  25. Catskill

    Catskill New Member

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    As before, I’d like to hear about any experiences you’d care to share. A generator sounds interesting.

    At the moment I'm shopping around for a VW TDI to play around with and do some hands on experimentation with an SVO kit. As near as I can tell there is plenty of waste oil in my neck of the woods up for grabs.
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