Self-sufficient biodiesel co-ops. What does it take?

Hollywood

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 10, 1999
Location
My swively chair
TDI
97 Passat Sedan
Hold up guys! You're all thinking about geting Methanol cheap or making your own. Have you thought of other ways to offset your costs?

We are looking into what these resturants pay to have their grease hauled off. If we can get two or three small resturants to pay us to haul it, that would offset costs, even if we just charge a nominal amount.

Also, has anyone looked into selling the soap that is left over? If making 300 gallons a month, then you have 45 gallons of soap. If you put some herbs from the garden in it and a cute wrapper, can't you sell it for $10/pound?

Would appreciate your input on these ideas.
 

BioDiesel

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2001
Location
CT
TDI
'98 Jetta
All your questions have been asked and answered
at biodiesel.infopop.net. Try doing a search there, or at the biofuels groups on Yahoo.

The TDIclub is a great place for TDI's, and the usage of biodiesel in them.

Making bd is better handled at the previosly mentioned sites.
 

strretch

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2001
Location
Bloomington, IN, USA
TDI
2001 Golf TDI
All your questions have been asked and answered
at biodiesel.infopop.net.
Thanks BD. I was actually poking around there a lot today. I don't see much about Maryland involvement there, still, so I think we've got a good thing going here.

-Brian
 

cigaranddieselsmokr

New member
Joined
Jan 3, 2003
Location
The Place GOD Forgot, Asheville
A little off topic cause I am not in the MD area but here is my dream.

When I get back to FL. some day I want to find some land out in nowheresville. I want to start my own bio plant, the catch is while I woudn't mind selling the stuff I plan on using all of it my self to run a few generators. I then would sell my "excess" Power to FPL who has buy it. I don't have all the numbers done but I think it could prove very profitable. I know I can get as much used oil as I want. I just need to find the meth/eth cheaper. I was thinking of building a still and making my own, then look at all the money I would save in commercial bourbon. Oh well just a thought, any input.
 

Weisse Bora

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2002
Location
All over God\'s Texas
Hold up guys! You're all thinking about geting Methanol cheap or making your own. Have you thought of other ways to offset your costs?

We are looking into what these resturants pay to have their grease hauled off. If we can get two or three small resturants to pay us to haul it, that would offset costs, even if we just charge a nominal amount.

Also, has anyone looked into selling the soap that is left over? If making 300 gallons a month, then you have 45 gallons of soap. If you put some herbs from the garden in it and a cute wrapper, can't you sell it for $10/pound?

Would appreciate your input on these ideas.
To charge for disposal, you would have to get EPA or the local equivalent license/registration as a disposer/hauler of such waste. These firms actually have a small market, namely cosmetics and specialty chemical companies who buy such waste after it has been processed.

The majority of the by-product from the reaction is glycerine, not soap. While you can make a type of soap using glycerine, its not the main ingredient. Soap is just the sodium or potassium salt of a fatty acid and is minimized in BD production. If you have too much water in the reactants, you get soap from the water ionization.
 

GeWilli

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 6, 1999
Location
lost to new england
TDI
none in the fleet (99.5 Golf RIP, 96 B4V sold)
Couple things.

Yes this info is all over the web in other places.

Ethanol biodiesel has a lower energy content than Methanol diesel.

We don't care about water in the stuff. You HAVE to wash the product to get all teh methanol and NaOH out of it with water before its finished (if you want a quality product).

SO water in Methanol is no big deal.

Methanol Costs. WHO CARES . . .. how much methanol does it take? And on the good side you can set up a still to re-capture and re-use it.

Check automotive race shops. Yeah a 55 gallon drum of Methanol will be a big cost but it'll last a long time.

The ethanol will lower your mileage. Iowa or Idaho or somewhere did a nice study on the BTU/cetane of different types of esters. Methanol resulted in better fuel (more power =better mileage) than Ethanol.

If you are getting the Oil for free then you'll be spending about $0.50-0.60/gallon based on Joe Rappa's numbers.

If one of you haven't talked to Joe. Do it. He's big king head honcho TDI/Diesel Biodiesel brewer.

I don't know about grants for making this stuff on campus but - the contract/grant folks probably have a good handle on who in the system has the research most focused in this direction and you could set something up - unfunded or (think tax write off) donated funding (yeah I like it, you make a tax decuctible donation to the university to set this project up . . . then you get low cost fuel . . . and a tax break)


I'll keep an eye on it. Too bad yall are so far away from my folks out there . . . (makin it worse, my in-laws moved way out past manassas
)
 

strretch

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2001
Location
Bloomington, IN, USA
TDI
2001 Golf TDI
I don't know about grants for making this stuff on campus but - the contract/grant folks probably have a good handle on who in the system has the research most focused in this direction and you could set something up - unfunded or (think tax write off) donated funding (yeah I like it, you make a tax decuctible donation to the university to set this project up . . . then you get low cost fuel . . . and a tax break)
Aha! This is an excellent possibility! My university does in fact have a non-profit foundation set up for funding various programs/people on campus that can be used as a tax deduction for the donee. This very well could be something people in my Sponsored Programs office would know about and could help with. Excellent idea!
 

eschady

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Joined
Oct 14, 2002
Location
Milton, WI
TDI
2003 Jetta GL Black w/gray int.
I applogize if you have seen this before, but here is a link I had once bookmarked. The website documents the formation of the Portland Biodiesel Co-op. They have some good information and have done a pretty good job documenting the process of starting a BioD co-op. Some of the information is hard to find, but if you click through all of the links there is some useful info available.

http://exocet.ca/phpwiki/index.php/HomePage
 

Weisse Bora

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2002
Location
All over God\'s Texas
Aside from the cost, methanol is downright toxic. Every properly-labeled container has the words "POISON" and "DANGER CANNOT BE MADE NON-TOXIC" for a damn good reason. Aside from that, it is rapidly absorbed through the skin, eyes and mucus membranes meaning its nothing to play with.

Sure, on a co-op plant, liability can be waived.

Oh yes, before I forget. Methanol has a similar water problem as ethanol and you will find a KF titration on any alcohol used and important step in maintaining % yields. Alcohol over 2% water by mass will affect yield.

My pilot process indicates absolute ethanol gives identical conversion rates as methanol. I don't know about the specific energy but it should be a wash. We are only talking about a one carbon difference (CH3OH vs C2H5OH).
 

GeWilli

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 6, 1999
Location
lost to new england
TDI
none in the fleet (99.5 Golf RIP, 96 B4V sold)
WB, you are talkin about relative rates and over processing - a bit of water is normal. This is not Pfizer or Monsanto. You talkin homebrewers.

With the right precautions soduim methoxide can be easily dealt with. The protocols are out there. Ethanol is easier to work with in the saftey respect but its up the to 'brewers' to decide if the want the assume the risk.
 

nh mike

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Joined
Apr 28, 2002
Location
NH
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2003 Jetta GLS wagon, 2004 Passat GLS wagon
Ah hah! So this is where the conversation got moved to.
I just made some posts in the other thread about building a biodiesel processor on campus. I guess I'd better go ahead and read the rest of this thread.... (GeWilli, see the other thread for my other posts)
 

Weisse Bora

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2002
Location
All over God\'s Texas
I have found using absolute alcohols minimizes saponification. Of course the non-washer does not see this as a problem because most of the soap is in the BD. There is also a problem of incomplete transesterification even if excess alcohol is used.




With all due respect, dissolving NaOH in MeOH does not make sodium methoxide...its just NaOH dissolved in MeOH. Sodium methoxide is made by reacting sodium metal with methanol. Totally different beast. I imagine it could be useful but try getting that much sodium metal these days! I guess with some graphite crucibles and electrodes, one might make their own but that is really dangerous
 

GeWilli

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 6, 1999
Location
lost to new england
TDI
none in the fleet (99.5 Golf RIP, 96 B4V sold)
sorry - keith - my bad (on the methoxide) just parroting what i've read/heard.

yeah mike - moved it over here (I caught your other stuff btw).
 

Weisse Bora

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2002
Location
All over God\'s Texas
WVO\'s...yum

That is the other thing I had been working on in pilot process. WVO with ethanol. The only step additional it took was filtering out of the nasties and some decolorizing with Norit activated carbon. After that, it transesterified beautifully. Since I didn't have a source, I saved my own waste oil, a mix of peanut, corn and other oils plus bacon fat. Oh yes, throw in some beef tallow.

I used thin-layer chromatagraphy for analysis of tranesterification. I imaged with iodine vapor and used plain silica with a pure alcohol solvent system.
 

GeWilli

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 6, 1999
Location
lost to new england
TDI
none in the fleet (99.5 Golf RIP, 96 B4V sold)
thin-layer chroma . . . BioD verification

Hey . . . i've got a few 20x20 Whatman PE SIL G plates that I use for the GBam test. I haven't tried runnin out the BioD . . . hmmmmm time for more fun with chemistry
 
S

SkyPup

Guest
Re: WVO\'s...yum

Me too, usually Merck Silica Gel 60 GF254, it makes a fine slurry, have my own plate pourer too. Polar, non polar, and neutral all work quite well.
 

GeWilli

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 6, 1999
Location
lost to new england
TDI
none in the fleet (99.5 Golf RIP, 96 B4V sold)
Hey strrech, and all,

how's it going? made any progress on it as the weather warms up?

(just curious)
 
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