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Old 12-04-2010, 03:05 PM
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Question IS MAKING BIODIESEL SAFE? Anyone with experience?

Looking to see who all is actively making Bio-D, or who has done it before and has considerable experience, as I need sugggestions and advice for someone about to get started.

For those that have made fuel, and no longer making it, why? Chemical exposure, or just not worth it anymore due to the time involved?

Is it a process worth the exposure to chemicals especially over an extended period of time?

OR better put.........IS MAKING BIODIESEL SAFE? Or can it be made safe enough even without the use of a self contained breathing apparatus due to methanol vapors, etc????

I want to get started in making it but really leery of chemicals, etc (unless I can go about it safely).

I've been collecting a bunch of good waste veg oil for a while now and now I need to figure out if I need to keep collecting it. Time to make a decision.

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Old 12-04-2010, 03:44 PM
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I was pretty heavy into it for a while. I had a pretty good set up in my pole barn. Only made small batches in five gallon buckets though. The oil I was getting was titrating way to high and the amount of chemicals involved and time involved was not cost effective. It was fun though, and I did run several machines on it for about a year. Never put it in my 6.0L as the fuel system is very complex and I was afraid of messing it up. My john deere skid steer and a small kubota tractor were the test machines and the only problems I had were old rubber hoses rotting and the fuel filters clogging from all the junk the biodiesl was cleaning out of the fuel tank and lines. I have since switched back to regular diesel fuel. The safety issue is also a reason. You have to vent the gasses from the reaction vessel to the outside as they are explosive and hazardous to your health. I was always afraid of the gasses igniting. Don't know if they would or not but that is the reason I never did big batches. Its a fun hobby, but you will not be money ahead. I followed the instructions from the website journeytoforever. Some say not to follow there instructions but I did and it worked. There may be better ways to do it so do plenty of research and be careful and have fun!
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Old 12-04-2010, 05:50 PM
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Personally yes its dangerous but no more dangerous then then 2 gallons of gas you keep in your garage or shed for your lawnmower. There are other chemicals in your house that are just as dangerous like bleach, cleaning powders and degreasers. Dont let it scare you away. If you do it properly (apron, glasses , gloves , long sleeves, pants and shoes) you will be fine.

I just dont understand why all of a sudden people are getting scared to make bio diesel in their sheds or garages when they have vehicles parked in their driveways with 15+ gallon tanks full of low flash point gasoline, gallons of bleach in their laundry room that can eat through metal, cans of spray paint that will give you brain damage if inhaled......
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Old 12-05-2010, 06:53 AM
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Gasoline is one thing but it wouldn't burn your hand like caustic soda or lye would, correct?

Also methanol is considerably more volatile than gasoline and especially more than bleach.

I guess lots of people are at least hesitant which is good considering the dangers, etc. I mean, there have been related house fires and dangerous exposures to vapors.

So any more thoughts? but more especially any ideas on how to go about it more safely???

CapCalvin, I have also been reading some of the Journeytoforever and I like the articles where they have made the exposure to methanol almost nonexistent in the five gallon batches, etc. Did you follow their instructions almost to the letter, or any modified way that you did it to help limit the chemical exposure, etc?????

Thanks for the replies, good thread here.
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Old 12-05-2010, 07:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E'sStrokr01 View Post
Gasoline is one thing but it wouldn't burn your hand like caustic soda or lye would, correct?

Also methanol is considerably more volatile than gasoline and especially more than bleach.

I guess lots of people are at least hesitant which is good considering the dangers, etc. I mean, there have been related house fires and dangerous exposures to vapors.

So any more thoughts? but more especially any ideas on how to go about it more safely???

CapCalvin, I have also been reading some of the Journeytoforever and I like the articles where they have made the exposure to methanol almost nonexistent in the five gallon batches, etc. Did you follow their instructions almost to the letter, or any modified way that you did it to help limit the chemical exposure, etc?????

Thanks for the replies, good thread here.
The only safer way really is to have a shed in the middle of a 5 acre parcel and make it there. Make the shed out of brick and have plenty of fire extinguishers around. I used to work on airplanes and exposed to avgas/diesel/jp5-8 all of the time and that stuff caused burns. Lye doesnt eat through your skin right away, it will give you a nasty burn eventually though just like methanol. Methoxide is a different animal all together but if you are handling methoxide without proper equipment then you deserve it. Remember that Lye is the main ingredient in a lot of beauty products (specifically anything meant to straighten or relax hair). If you have children under the age of 16 at your house I say its not a good idea to have biodiesel making chemicals at your place and thats why I only buy enough methanol to make 1 40 gallon batch at a time.
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Old 12-05-2010, 07:28 AM
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I was considering bio ubtil I realized the chemicals used & the dangers invloved. I know myself & I am not careful enough to be handling those cheimcals safely. Also I have small children & don't want to take the chance they get exposed. I think bio only makes sense if you have many vehicles you want run & don't want to put conversion kits to run straight veg. By running bio you are adding extra processing cost & extra time. I think you are much better off converting to vehicle & running straight veg.

I don't understand why someone is not willing to take the chance of running bio or SVO in there vehicle but will run it in their farm equiptment other stuff. They are very pricey & can be just as pricey to repair.
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Old 12-05-2010, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E'sStrokr01 View Post
Gasoline is one thing but it wouldn't burn your hand like caustic soda or lye would, correct?

Also methanol is considerably more volatile than gasoline and especially more than bleach.

I guess lots of people are at least hesitant which is good considering the dangers, etc. I mean, there have been related house fires and dangerous exposures to vapors.

So any more thoughts? but more especially any ideas on how to go about it more safely???

CapCalvin, I have also been reading some of the Journeytoforever and I like the articles where they have made the exposure to methanol almost nonexistent in the five gallon batches, etc. Did you follow their instructions almost to the letter, or any modified way that you did it to help limit the chemical exposure, etc?????

Thanks for the replies, good thread here.
I followed their instructions pretty closely and it works. Yes the five gallon bucket method that they show is a good way. I got to the point where I was just doing it in a open top bucket outside in the fresh air then putting the lid on and bringing it inside. If you build a larger unit you will definatly have to vent it to the outside. One person that I know that makes biodiesel said that their method uses too much methanol and sodium hydroxide and results in having to wash to many times. I would recomend if you really want to get into it you should learn how to do it the "foolproof method" using sulphuric acid. Also If you can reclaim any unused methonal from the glycerine by heat extraction by building a simple still you can save some money. I did this and it worked pretty good. Again, your dealing with boiling hot flamable liquid so be careful.
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Old 12-05-2010, 01:22 PM
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So Calvin, even when your oil was titrating too high, and you say it was costing you more in lye and methanol, etc, about how much were you into a gallon? Even if you have to estimate, about how much you think?

And as far as time goes, it takes a long time but if I have a setup that I don't have to stand over all day (turn a timer on here, and there and keep a check on it, etc, while I am close by, etc), then it's not like it takes up too much time does it?
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Old 12-05-2010, 03:18 PM
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I think at the time it was costing me around $2.00/gal. Which is high I know, but I never made big batches. Only 5 gal. bucket batches. If you have the money to invest you could just buy one of those machines that does it all automatic. A big initial investment, but in the long run would pay off for you. You should try some small batches first and get a feel for it then decide how involved you want to get. Like the website says, start small and work your way up to bigger batches as you get more familliar with the process. I had fun with it.
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Old 12-05-2010, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capcalvin View Post
I think at the time it was costing me around $2.00/gal. Which is high I know, but I never made big batches. Only 5 gal. bucket batches. If you have the money to invest you could just buy one of those machines that does it all automatic. A big initial investment, but in the long run would pay off for you. You should try some small batches first and get a feel for it then decide how involved you want to get. Like the website says, start small and work your way up to bigger batches as you get more familliar with the process. I had fun with it.
That's good to know. I'd be kinda stoked at $2.00 a gallon now that diesel here is $3.19 a gallon, and only going up. I'm sure the time counts for something too but if making a 5 gallon batch doesn't take too long then it'd be worth it I think.

Did You wash your fuel?
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