The Basics of Biodiesel Kits

Author The Biodiesel Kits Guide    Category Biodiesel Kits Basics     Tags , ,


With a biodiesel kit, you will still need the following ingredients: waste vegetable oil (WVO), methanol (racing fuel), sodium hydroxide (household lye) and water.

Local and continuous supply of discarded cooking oil (managers of fast food restaurants) – WVO- waste vegetable oil. Can include lard and other kitchen grease. It is usually dumped into storage tanks at the backs of restaurants and they pay to remove it so they’ll be happy if you take it.

- You’ll need a battery powered fuel pump for the oil.

Biodiesel Kits

Sodium hydroxide can be purchased at the grocery store. Make sure you are buying it in sealed cans so that it doesn’t get exposed to moisture.

2. Safety Precautions

When making biodiesel, you must take precautions. You are going to be handling chemicals that can be dangerous if used incorrectly or carelessly. Methanol, one of the ingredients you will need, is very flammable and the flame is actually not even visible when it is burning. It is very powerful once mixed with lye and if it comes into contact with skin, it will burn it immediately.

Sodium hydroxide can also be dangerous if it comes into contact with bare skin. This substance can also destroy aluminum, tin pans, paint and other materials. Therefore it should only be put containers it can handle such as those made of glass, stainless steel or chemical-grade polyethylene.

In addition, when the sodium hydroxide and methanol are mixed, sodium methoxide is created. Sodium methoxide produces vapors that are dangerous to inhale. Therefore, you must only make biodiesel in an open area that is very well ventilated.

3. Biodiesel Kits

It is much easier to buy a biodiesel kit than to purchase separate parts from various places. Building a kit from scratch can be very complicated and takes a lot of time. In addition, biodiesel kits come with safety features so you don’t have to worry too much about doing something that can cause you harm. Biodiesel kits can sometimes be pricey but are worth investing in if you are serious about making your own biodiesel.

The kits generally come with two tanks. One is larger and will hold the cooking oil. The other one is smaller and is where you put the methanol and sodium hydroxide. It usually works that there is a 20% methanol to oil ratio. Glycerin is generated during the cycle as well.

If you are making biodiesel in a colder climate, you will probably want a kit that come with a heater for the mixing tank. Oil can be heated easily this way and therefore help remove waste oil moisture.

4. The Process

Before starting, you will need to do something called “titration”. Titration is a test that needs to be done so that you will know how much sodium hydroxide to use for every batch of oil, as the amount differs for every batch.

No matter what kind of biodiesel kit you are using, the methanol and sodium hydroxide mixture will be transferred into the the larger tank with the oil via a pump.

The measuring and mixing takes about an hour and then it takes a full 24 hours for the chemical process to complete. In general, biodiesel kits will automatically turn off when the process is completed.

After the oil, methanol and sodium hydroxide are mixed together, water is added. The “water wash” helps removes unwanted waste products.

You now have a basic understanding of how to make biodiesel using a biodiesel kit. No matter what kit you will buy, always make sure to follow safety instructions carefully, work in a well ventilated area and use protective gear.

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