Aussies Living Simply

Bio Diesel

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  • #237383
    barely runbarely run
    Member

    Does anyone here use biodiesel, make their own or know someone who does???

    The australian sites I have found so far are a bit out of date but I believe it is fairly simple process to turn cannola into biodiesel with a small scale plant about $8,000????

    Would also like to attend a training workshop if any are being run.

    Cheers

    Cathy

    #267193
    MarkrMarkr
    Member

    Permaculture North recently had a guest speaker who discussed creating your own bio diesel. He used a combination of bio diesel and used cooking oil to power a peugeot sedan. I’ll see if I can track down some more details for you

    #267194
    Anonymous
    Guest

    g’day cathy,

    the sparky i knew up in the bush made his own, but he used old frier fat from food outlets, his equipmant as i understood was basic he needed and old twin tub wash machine just for the pump and mixed methol benzine and caustic soda into the old oil to crack it and turn it inot good clean diesel compatable fule without any of the black sooty exhaust or smell.

    there used to be an assie site you pay subscribed to and got the information to build this unit, reckon it’s going to take a lot of bio’ to recover $8,000.

    if you want i’ll check my old favourite files later may ahve some links there?

    len

    #267195
    ChristopherChristopher
    Member

    Cathy,

    There are several ways to do it, and there was a great thread over at PRI about it, but the thread lost steam, and died….

    You can do it for a lot less than that, making biiodiesel, but the fuel I like is straight veggie oil (SVO) using two fuel tanks, one for diesel to start the engine and warm it up, then switch the fuel line to the SVO, run it on that, and then for five minutes before shutting it down, switch it to diesel again. No messing with chemicals and stuff, no alkali, no titration, a lot easier!

    The best site is run by Justin Carver, http://www.greasecar.com/ which specializes in the SVO conversion. They are great people!

    Anyway, we have two diesel pick ups, and we would love to get two kits and convert them both to run off of SVO.

    I know that when southern belize got cut off from the rest of the coutry for two weeks, and fuel supply dwindled off to nothing, I kept running my old Hilux on corn oil, which was pricey, but I needed to work! My engine did fine, never had a problem….

    I hope you find a way to do it!

    C

    #267196
    GeoffGeoff
    Keymaster

    Hi Cathy,

    One great site for this is:

    http://journeytoforever.org/biodiesel_make.html

    Tasman Energy also has a page on it with a recipe for making some in a jar to “test it out”, and they offer a book for purchase:

    http://www.tasmanenergy.com.au/biodiesel.htm

    According to them finding the methanol is the hard part. It’s a project on my to-do list. You’re not far from us there, if you find out about a workshop locally please let me know!

    Cheers,

    Geoff

    #267197
    ziggyziggy
    Member

    this is onother thing i want too do. In our area there is a group of us looking into starting a co-op to make bio-diesel. The idea is that we all grow Canola and make oil out of it then have a larger methanol plant to make the meth and then finish the canola oil into diesel. There is already a couple of locals doing it most of us will make our own crushing plants. Interestingly enough you can go into a supermarket and get all the ingrediants for bio-diesel go staight out too the car park and put it in !

    #267198
    GeoffGeoff
    Keymaster

    Hi Ziggy,

    You mention you can go into the supermarket and get all the ingredients. I’d be most interested to know which section I need to look in to find the methanol? Also, have you seen recipies for making the methanol?

    Thanks,

    Geoff

    #267199
    ziggyziggy
    Member

    i havn’t seen any recipes as yet haven’t started looking at that one. metholated spirits works for translification i am led to believe, never tried it just herd about people doing it during fuel shortages in uk.

    #267200
    roadwarriorroadwarrior
    Member

    Buy a horse. It’s a lot easier.

    Seriously, I’m an industrial chemist, and I looked into making my own biodesiel a while ago and unless you have modified your vehicle to run on straight vege oil then it’s not worth bothering. It takes too much time and mucking around, and several of the steps involve extremely dangerous chemicals. Imagine how much petrol you could buy for $8,000 instead of buying expensive equipment to make it. You’d have to make a huge amount of desiel to get your money back.

    You can make it for around $0.21/L, but if you used the same amount of time working instead, you’d earn 10 times more money than what you’d save making desiel.

    Also, free vege oil is getting much harder to find. There’s a company in Queensland that makes biodesiel commercially, and they purchase as much frier oil as they can get. Once you start paying for the oil it’s no longer worth doing on a small scale.

    Horses eat grass, produce great manure, and they can make copies of themselves. Try to get a car to do that.

    #267201
    GeoffGeoff
    Keymaster

    Ziggy: The first link I provided indicates that methylated spirits wont work at all, though it does give extra information for working with ethanol, which we can brew up at home!

    Roadwarrior: The diesel engine was designed to run on straight (peanut) oil… There are two ways to make biodiesel, “best guess” and “proper”, proper involves the titration, but we learned that in the first year of chemistry at uni, so if we want to go all out then it’s not really that difficult.

    The only chemicals involved other than the oil are methanol (or ethanol) and the sodium hydroxide. Methanol can be dangerous, but so can many other chemicals we use every day. I have a canola oil plant down the road, and know how to get oil from the plants I grow here.

    Having said all that, I agree a horse is probably the best solution, but you need to remember that you have to feed it even when you don’t need to use it.

    Cheers,

    Geoff

    #267202
    roadwarriorroadwarrior
    Member

    The product from mixing sodium hydroxide and methanol (the chemical name escapes me) is EXTREMELY toxic. You have to perform this before adding the mixture to the vege oil.

    Like I said, it’s not worth it.

    Running on straight oil is better, but imagine the huge amount of labour you’d have to do in order to produce enough oil (assuming you are growing it) to get your car to go only a few kilometers.

    #267203
    barely runbarely run
    Member

    Thanks for the ideas…we are looking at production for our farm use and some neighbours. At the present fuel is one of the biggest farm costs and that is for both conventional and organic. Looking at a long term return on initial outlay and have the ground to grow cannola, (if the drought lets up). Also if Peak Oil scenario eventuates it gives us some independence from other interests.

    Will get Chris to look at this as he’s the one interested mainly…Great to see I have a close by like minded neighbour (GEOFF CUDAL) that’s just a spit from us….would like to catch up with you some time soon.

    Cheers

    Cathy

    #267204
    GeoffGeoff
    Keymaster

    Hi Cathy, sounds great! There doesn’t seem to be many of “us” out here, though some of the locals here do produce a bit of their own food, so that’s part way there.

    Hi Roadwarrior, I think perhaps you are considering small-scale production for use in a single vehicle out of the produce of a small block, where what you say certainly is valid. When you expand the scale to the size of a farm where diesel tractors are in use to produce large crops the factors weighing in for consideration are a bit different.

    Sodium or Potassium Methoxide is the name of the product, and it is toxic, but so are many of the chemicals in use on farms, and in homes for that matter. Given Cathy’s situation, and that of many other farmers, the application of the same safety precautions they (generally) would apply in chemical handling situations will serve them well, and allow them to continue producing food on a broad scale, even beyond peak oil.

    Our small communities need farmers willing to take initiatives such as this in order for them (and us) to survive into the future. Our entire country needs this as otherwise the majority of our larger farms will be going out of business only to be replaced by multi-national conglomerates or overseas imports. Then when PO does hit we are left well behind the eight ball, no local fuel supply, no local farms.

    Groups of farmers locally producing biodiesel from locally grown feedstock will allow them to support the larger local towns, reducing the population push back into the countryside that would result if all the townies suddenly had no food to eat.

    Cheers,

    Geoff

    #267205
    ziggyziggy
    Member

    good to hear everyone’s POV it does stimulate thought. Certanly on a large scale farm situation it is definatly a proposition expecially since there is a number of us getting together to do it. Thats gives us the huge volume in the 100 thousand ltre mark plus, also the large capital expenditure is not a problem and not too mention the engineering equipment etc we have access to. Then again it may be a crap idea we havn’t commited anything yet it is just in the planning stage. Here is a link to someone in my area already doing it

    http://www.bebioenergy.com

    You only have to look at what they are doing in germany to see how small scale can be made effective expecially when combined whith a feed lot as well as broud acre farming.

    I would need 350 horses to pull my seeder amagine the food and manure ahh and compaction lol

    #267206
    frostyfrosty
    Member

    hi cathy

    there are several groups of farmers over here in the mid west WA doing exactly what you are proposing …….. almost everyweek there is a story about it on our local (geraldton ) ABC radio

    personally I would agree with people who say TVO is a much better option than making biodiesel ………if you use TVO you dont have to pay the govt excise or obtain a manufacturers licence which you do to make biodiesel even if you grow your own canola

    I will try and find if there is anything online about these stories but I do remember one farmer said it was costing him 61c a litre for his BD and he was sending his canola away to be crushed so that included shipping it there and back

    from another story in the newspaper here about a mid west group of 5 farmers – 70 tons of canola produced 20,000 litres of biodiesel – this year they want to produce 65000litres and that will need 250ha of canola

    hope this helps

    frosty

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