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Biodiesel Production

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Seacowboys, Apr 10, 2009.

  1. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    I am about to purchase an oil press and a biodiesel dry-wash production unit that will produce nominally 450 gallons per day. We are in the process of collecting waste vegetable oils but would like to expand production by utilizing the seed press and persuading a local farmer or two into producing several acres of rapeseed as a winter cover crop and exchange seed for an on-going supply of fuel to run their farms. This would have been a much better idea last year, before the $1 a gallon tax credit for bio-diesel production expired but I initially intend to produce enough fuel to operate our business (around 1200-1500 gallons per week) with recycled vegetable oil, if we can locate this much, and expand into virgin oil production by barter from area farmers.
    I am looking for productive means of disposing of the waste product (glycerin). I understand that it is biodegradable and can be composted but think maybe soap production might be a better alternative and soap, in many forms, has value as a trade good. The next waste product would be the left-over seed cake, once we begin pressing oil. One of our group raises beef cattle and this will be utilized as a feed supplement and traded for beef on the hook.
    I am about to enlist the aid of our local agricultural extension agent in assesing the viability of this project.
  2. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    You'll also need a still to recycle your methanol.

    I have a process to convert glycerin into a high $ value product. If you'd like to discuss let me know.
  3. Cephus

    Cephus Monkey+++ Founding Member

    I know that product and it does work real well .

    I was thinking on the same lines.
  4. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    Can you drink that recycled methanol? I am surely wanting to discuss this matter. I haven't even begun to source methanol or lye in the bulk quantities that we'll need. We have the resources to try this project and I am exploring the economic viability. We have the labor needed for production available with the in-house pool without having to hire additional personnel and that is a big plus. We also have a ten thousand gallon storage tank and a secure building to set up production in and a vac-truck for hauling recovered oils. It is not a critical project but it is one that I want to get underway this summer and , if viable, be prepared to step up production when the pieces begin to fall into place.
  5. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Glycerol, or glycerin, is a byproduct of biodiesel synthesis. Currently, it has very little value, the market is glutted. Yield is around 10% of the fuel yield. However, there might be some ammo manufacturers that could be interested in trading for something more useful. Dunno where the methanol came into the picture, but it makes pretty good fuel --

    See also Glycerol - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia@@AMEPARAM@@/wiki/File:Glycerin_Skelett.svg" class="image" title="Glycerol"><img alt="" src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/dc/Glycerin_Skelett.svg/120px-Glycerin_Skelett.svg.png"@@AMEPARAM@@commons/thumb/d/dc/Glycerin_Skelett.svg/120px-Glycerin_Skelett.svg.png
  6. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    Eeee gad not that one, my use relates to something else. taking things apart is to easy, it takes genius to put something together.

    I also have sourcing experience. And know other outlets for the glycerin.
    The methanol is reused in the process.
  7. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    What part of the world are you in, Slugo? You sound like you might have some useful skills and knowledge base. Right now, I am focusing on preps for feeding my family, extended family, and group. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by people of quality and benevolence that believe as deeply as I do, that the world as we knew it is already dead and no matter how long we keep it on life-support, will never again return to what we had before. We are not doomers! We recognize a need to prepare to rebuild a new and better culture, economy, and life-style and this has nothing to do with government, politics, race, or creed. If our preparations are never needed, then so much the better. Preparations spell one word with meaning: Freedom. We are working to build an economy of value and worth, not paper currency, although lots of that useless stuff still needs to be traded until it no longer works. As I mentioned, we are not Doomers; we are perpetual optomists and are intent on making our lives much better as a result of our labors and planning. We are planning for worst but hoping for the best and recognize the necessity of salvaging members of the community that have value and incorporating them into the scheme. I would love a new pair of Kangaroo cowboy boots but a Magic Mill flour grinder on ebay will give that purchase to a cobbler for new heels on my old boots. In preparing for life, choices have to be made every day. I pray for wisdom and guidance in making the right choices. I recently read that only 3% of our country's founding population actually were willing to stand up and fight and die, if necessary, for our freedom from an oppressive king: 3%.
  8. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    I wish I had the capital to invest in something like this, being I finally ponied up the funds and bought a diesel truck. One of my ex coworkers is doing the same with his father and brother.

    Too bad you didn't live closer. I still have a strong back and lots of useful skills (plumber/pipefitter, boiler experience plus other building trades experience) that I'd be willing to trade fuel for in helping maintain and keeping the facility running. :D
  9. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    I'm in florida. I'm just into being self-sufficient, if society falls apart and the gov can't tax me or regulate me then that's an additional plus.

    FYI the methanol is combined with the sodium hydroxide (LYE) This makes methoxide which esterfies the fatty acids. FAME aka fatty acid methyl esters is what pure biodiesel is.
  10. padkychas

    padkychas Monkey+++

  11. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    Methanol/Ethanol is an answer but a poor one in my opinion.
    The info on the first link is pretty laughable, most of it is a far stretch if not straightup BS.
  12. padkychas

    padkychas Monkey+++

    "The info on the first link is pretty laughable, most of it is a far stretch if not straightup BS."
    Could you give examples of the "BS". I have heard the guy talk on MP3 interviews and I was impressed with the level of knowledge that he had on the subject. Nascar runs on alcohol and they run well, the country Brazil runs 90% of the cars, trucks ect on alcohol.
    So why can't we?

  13. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    1. Almost every country can become energy independent. Anywhere that has sunlight and land (needs to be fertile land, can't grow in the desert, and unless new tech is invented only where corn or sugar cane can grow, Also need a growing season and enough land to grow enough crop to use for food and fuel) can produce alcohol from plants. Brazil, the fifth largest country in the world imports no oil, since half its cars run on alcohol fuel made from sugarcane, grown on 1% of its land.
    2. We can reverse global warming. Since alcohol is made from plants, its production takes carbon dioxide out of the air, sequestering it, with the result that it reverses the greenhouse effect (while it is true that plants take the CO2 out when you burn the alcohol you put it right back. Oh and when you ferment the alcohol the yeast "shits" carbon dioxide, that's why your beer foams. It's carbon neutral at best, not going to help with Global warming but won't hurt it either) (while potentially vastly improving the soil (No help improving the soil). Recent studies show that in a permaculturally designed mixed-crop alcohol fuel production system, the amount of greenhouse gases removed from the atmosphere by plants—and then exuded by plant roots into the soil as sugar( PLANTS EXUDE SUGAR INTO THE SOIL? new to me, why not just ferment the soil to make alcohol then? I've never tasted sweet dirt either)—can be 13 times what is emitted by processing the crops and burning the alcohol in our cars.
    3. We can revitalize the economy instead of suffering through Peak Oil. Oil is running out, and what we replace it with will make a big difference in our environment and economy. Alcohol fuel production and use is clean (unless you count carbon dioxide and monoxide as a pollutant) and environmentally sustainable, and will revitalize families, farms, towns, cities, industries, as well as the environment. A national switch to alcohol fuel would provide many millions of new permanent jobs. ( it doesn't take a lot of jobs to run a distillery, about as many as would be laid off from the oil industry)
    4. No new technological breakthroughs are needed. (To make enough alcohol we would need new tech especially if we didn't want food shortages>We need to be able to utilize the lignin in the plants, thus new enzyme technology is needed, also to power an aircraft you'd need better engines) We can make alcohol fuel out of what we have, where we are. Alcohol fuel can efficiently be made out of many things, from waste products like stale donuts, grass clippings, food processing waste-even ocean kelp. ( Maybe some of the new jobs, trash sorting and picking) Many crops produce many times more alcohol per acre than corn, (Not really, except maybe rice, sugarbeets or sugarcane. remember it's the sugar in the crop that makes alcohol, you can use cellulase enzyme to get more sugar from the cellulose but the majority of fiber in plants is lignin, and only cows can break that down now) using arid, marshy, or even marginal land in addition to farmland. Just our lawn clippings could replace a third of the autofuel we get from the Mideast.
    5. Unlike hydrogen fuel cells, we can easily use alcohol fuel in the vehicles we already own. Unmodified cars can run on 50% alcohol, and converting to 100% alcohol or flexible fueling (both alcohol and gas) costs only a few hundred dollars. Most auto companies already sell new dual-fuel vehicles. Most small engines will lose half their life using alcohol, and others would need modification to run straight alcohol. If you're blending with gas why waste your time. Alcohol has less energy than gas PERIOD. Hence less mileage from a gallon of alcohol
    6. Alcohol is a superior fuel to gasoline! It’s 105 octane(octane value means crap for fuel efficiency, 93 is the same as 87), burns much cooler with less vibration, is less flammable in case of accident,(burns cooler and is less flammable shows you that there is less energy in it) is 98% pollution-free, has lower evaporative emissions, and deposits no carbon in the engine or oil, resulting in a tripling of engine life. Specialized alcohol engines can get at least 22% better mileage than gasoline or diesel.
    7. It’s not just for gasoline cars. We can also easily use alcohol fuel to power diesel engines (why convert a diesel engine to alcohol when you could just use biodiesel?), trains (biodiesel with no engine modification), aircraft(need better engines that can run on less energy alcohol), small utility engines (will corrode these engines), generators to make electricity, heaters for our homes—and it can even be used to cook our food.
    8. Alcohol has a proud history. Gasoline is a refinery’s toxic waste (LMAO Gas is not a toxic waste, duh); alcohol fuel is liquid sunshine.( oil is REALLY OLD liquid sunshine) Henry Ford’s early cars were all flex-fuel. It wasn’t until gasoline magnate John D. Rockefeller funded Prohibition that alcohol fuel companies were driven out of business.
    9. The byproducts of alcohol production are clean, instead of being oil refinery waste, (most oil refineries don't have waste, sometimes they burn the waste gases but other than that they use all of it) and are worth more than the alcohol itself. In fact, they can make petrochemical fertilizers and herbicides obsolete.(LONG STRETCH, going to need some major chemistry to pull this one off) The alcohol production process concentrates and makes more digestible all protein and non-starch nutrients in the crop. It’s so nutritious that when used as animal feed, it produces more meat or milk than the corn it comes from. That’s right, fermentation of corn increases the food supply and lowers the cost of food. (not true, because the carbohydrates you turn into alcohol are no longer there in the waste mash, thus not as nutritious, their statement is just foolish aboutlowerthe cost of food and increasing the food supply)
    10. Locally produced ethanol supercharges regional economies. Instead of fuel expenditures draining capital away to foreign bank accounts, each gallon of alcohol produces local income that gets recirculated many times. Every dollar of tax credit for alcohol generates up to $6 in new tax revenues from the increased local business. (only if .gov is giving away money, heck good deal for the gov, give $1 get $6)
    11. Alcohol production brings many new small-scale business opportunities. There is huge potential for profitable local, integrated, small-scale businesses that produce alcohol and related byproducts, whereas when gas was cheap, alcohol plants had to be huge to make a profit.
    12. Scale matters—most of the widely publicized potential problems with ethanol are a function of scale. Once production plants get beyond a certain size and are too far away from the crops that supply them, closing the ecological loop becomes problematic. Smaller-scale operations can more efficiently use a wide variety of crops than huge specialized one-crop plants, and diversification of crops would largely eliminate the problems of monoculture. (lose scale lose profit)
    13. The byproducts of small-scale alcohol plants can be used in profitable, energy-efficient, and environmentally positive ways. For instance, spent mash (the liquid left over after distillation) contains all the nutrients the next fuel crop needs and can return it back to the soil if the fields are close to the operation. Big-scale plants, because they bring in crops from up to 45 miles away, can’t do this, so they have to evaporate all the water and sell the resulting byproduct as low-price animal feed,which accounts for half the energy used in the plant.
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