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Archives for: February 2006


Permalink 11:37:41 pm, Categories: News, 80 words   English (US)

Florida Farm to Fuel

The March 2006 issue of the Florida Market Bulletion headlines its front page with "Program encourages biofuel production in Florida".

Quotes from the article I found of interest:

"A biofuel production facility in Florida would allow farmers to salvage crops damaged by storms or disease"

"A recent study ranked Florida first in the nation in the availability of biomass production area."

"Crops such as sugarcane, citrus, vegetables, cotton, field corn, wheat, and potatoes can be used to produce ethanol and biodiesel."



Permalink 03:30:29 pm, Categories: Announcements [A], News, 54 words   English (US)

Next biodiesel group order / Oil + Water

Looks like another group order coming up in the next week or two - send a line if you're interested.

George sent a neat ad Bio Bros from March 2006 issue of Outside magazine.

Seth and Tyler are kayakers *and* biodiesel users with a Blog here that describes their tour in kayaks/biodiesel truck from Alaska to Chile.



Permalink 05:46:21 pm, Categories: News, Background, 277 words   English (US)

KOH in minibatch

Our friend Elias has made the switch to Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) as a catalyst instead of Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH aka Lye) when making biodiesel. Others note a faster reaction with KOH vs. NaOH, easier mixing with Methanol, and better wash results - although KOH is more expensive than NaOH. The photo shows the separation between biodiesel (top) and glycerol (bottom) layers in a minibatch made using KOH.
KOH Minibatch

Elias made these process notes:

  1. Made some titrant concentrate: 10 grams of KOH
    dissolved in 1000 mL (1 liter) of distilled water.
  2. Made some titrant solution from the titrant concentrate: pour 50 mL of titrant concentrate into a 1000 mL beaker and then top it off with distilled water up to 500 mL. This solution is what I used to run the titrations.
  3. Made some KOH-based Methoxide concentrate:
    dissolved 50 grams of KOH + 10% (5 grams) more because
    the KOH I bought is 90% pure = 55 grams into 1000 mL
    of Methanol.
  4. Ran three consecutive titrations and settled on 4.8 titration result. Note that this was the same oil I used when I did the titration for the last NaOH based minibatch which gave a titration result of 3.4. So, KOH resulted in a larger titration result.
  5. Catalyst amount formula: 1 liter oil * (4.9g KOH (base) + 4.8g KOH (titration)) = 9.7g KOH needed for minibatch.
  6. Added 9.7 x 20 = 194 mL of the Methoxide concentrate and 26 mL of Methanol to reach at a 220 mL methoxide mixture as recommended by girl Mark to add to the heated WVO.
  7. Heated 1 liter of the oil to 130 F.
  8. Added the 220 mL of Methoxide and Methanol mixture to 1 liter of heated oil and mixed for 15 minutes in mixer.

Here is a good thread with sources of KOH.

Here is a thread on KOH vs. NaOH.


Permalink 06:14:44 pm, Categories: Background, 468 words   English (US)

Bananas, Biodiesel, and tying your shoes...

banana power!What does eating a banana, driving a car, and tying a shoe have in common? These are all everyday events for most of us. Many of us don't need to engage many brain cells to perform these acts - muscle memory kicks in and takes over the job.

But as an engineer, I want to maximize the efficiency and efficacy of my actions. In the last few years I've changed the way I do each of these actions trying to be more efficient and effective.

Using biodiesel in my personal vehicle is probably the most obvious change to readers of a biodiesel blog, so I'm not going to spend time in this post covering the efficiency and effectiveness of that fuel vs. gasoline or other petroleum based fuels - on to the fun stuff.

For the longest time, I had hiking shoes or similar with round laces that were always coming untied. I had treated this as just a way of life and continued tying my shoes with the bow method I had learned as a child. Why did I tie my shoes this way? I can't say I spent much time thinking about it, it was "just the way it was always done". While reading about various rope knots, I came across one called the "Turquoise Turtle". Said to be an improvement over the simple bow knot, I tried it on my own shoes. Wow! I've never had a shoe accidently come untied since then, and have trouble remembering how to tie a bow knot. The Turquoise Turtle is a better way to tie your shoes.

Enter the banana. To eat a banana, I peeled it from the stem end. Sometimes it was harder to get the peel started on a green banana, but that was just normal, right? Why did I eat a banana that way? Again, it was "just the way it was always done". Turns out that monkeys peel their bananas from the other end. Amazingly, when I tried that the light bulb(compact fluorescent type) went on! Of course - the stem is the handle. Hold the handle, pinch the end and peel away. No more crushed end and the string pieces peel away better. Peeling a banana from the "other" end is a better way to eat it.

So do you drive your gasoline car thinking it is normal because it is "just the way it was always done"? Pass the word - there is a better way to drive, tie, and eat - you'll know the converts grasping their bananas by the handle!

Thanks to Elias Victor for his continuing efforts to share what he has learning about making biodiesel. Pete and Storm, Ed, Kim, Jessica, Paula, and Dan (with his cool VW Rabbit biodiesel pickup) among others saw a successful mini-batch demonstration yesterday.



Permalink 02:45:29 pm, Categories: Announcements [A], 51 words   English (US)

Making biodiesel - demonstration in Cocoa, FL

Elias Victor (who has constructed an Appleseed Processor which we just wrote about) will be demonstrating making small "mini-batches" of biodiesel this Sunday February 5th at 2pm at his house. Location is 5085 Areca Palm St. Cocoa FL.
Plans are to make 2 small batches using slightly different "recipies" including performing titrations etc.


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