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#2855364 - 01/02/13 01:45 AM dumb questiin: should i start making my own fuel?
monster1 Offline

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 35
Loc: ca
I have a 2004.5 Dodge 2500 with the cummins 5.9 common rail diesel. I've been playing around with the idea of making my own bio-fuel ever since I bought the truck new but never have. I'm tired as the high cost of fuel dictating my life and I think it's time to start getting serious about making my own fuel. I'm thinking about just making my own processor. Three Grand is a lot for a prebuilt unit. So how hard is it to actually make my own fuel? My main concern would be getting stranded 400 miles away from home with a plugged up engine Followed by costly engine repairs. This is my only dilemma as to why I haven't made my own biofuel yet. What are your thoughts on this and have any of you had any type of engine related problems from your bio fuel that you've made? Thanks

#2855378 - 01/02/13 02:40 AM Re: dumb questiin: should i start making my own fuel? [Re: monster1]
lars11 Offline

Registered: 12/16/06
Posts: 723
Loc: Sweden
works fine for those that have their own supply of rapeseed oil to crack, like some farmes I know. Some farms also produce natural gas. Extra attention to be paid to winter fuel.
But fuel is never "free" and the situation with prefab oil in the ground is of course the cheapest available, not counting taxes and the shifting supply/demand situation of course.
Where would you get your raw material from and at what cost?

#2855406 - 01/02/13 05:15 AM Re: dumb questiin: should i start making my own fuel? [Re: monster1]
getnpsi Offline

Registered: 10/30/07
Posts: 693
Loc: Fontana, California
Id get into personal contact with local guys who do it already, or people who buy from them. See if there are any gaps you can fill with skills you have, your land, help bringing in more customers, containers or materials. Once you learn all logistics of making the end product you can see the larger picture to do it all yourself, or decide to run away and at least have a source to buy from.

Edited by getnpsi (01/02/13 05:15 AM)
2004 Dodge Neon SRT-4 Turbo
2009 Toyota Camry 2.4L
2012 Kawasaki KLR-650

1989 Mustang GT hatch
1989 Merkur Xr4ti

#2855476 - 01/02/13 07:54 AM Re: dumb questiin: should i start making my own fuel? [Re: monster1]
scurvy Offline

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 2274
Loc: Chicago IL USA
If you've got access to a feedstock, making your own biodiesel is relatively easy. And if your time is worthless it can drastically cut your fuel bill.

However, making quality fuel is very fiddly and difficult, especially if using waste vegetable oil. And if you value your time at something higher than prison wages, it's doubtful that you would save money in the long run.

But if you find it intellectually stimulating or have the time, money & space to do it as a hobby, I would find someone who is already making quality fuel and partner up with them to learn, help & lend a hand. Especially if you've got a truck, you could likely be a big help when it comes to oil collection.
You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

06 VW Golf TDI - M1/Delvac 1300 7.5w40ish, HU726/2x, EaBP90
12 Mazda 5 - M1 0W20, FL910S

#2856395 - 01/02/13 09:06 PM Re: dumb questiin: should i start making my own fuel? [Re: scurvy]
monster1 Offline

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 35
Loc: ca
Availability at the ingredients isnt a problem. We have a race track with alcohol available at the pump. I could just pump what I need that way I don't have to worry about storing potentially explosive chemicals in my house. A friend ownes 5 drive-in restaurants so used waste oil isn't a problem either. I've checked into part of availibilty and my own unit can be made for approximately 5 to 600 dollars. I think that's the idea of making my own fuel is very doable and would not be very inconvenient as I like to tinker around with stuff anyway. I just want to ensure that if I do start making my own fuel and making it properly that I am NOT going to be in the long run damaging an engine. So basically the information I'm looking for is from any of you that have real world knowledge of making your own fuel and actually using it.

#2856464 - 01/03/13 12:21 AM Re: dumb questiin: should i start making my own fuel? [Re: monster1]
Shannow Online   content

Registered: 12/12/02
Posts: 26773
Loc: a prison island
First worry would be about what you plan to do with the glycerine, at 15% (ish) of the fuel yield, it's a lot to get rid of.

Second, how to wash the fuel to keep the OH- and glycerine residuals out of your tank.

#2856751 - 01/03/13 09:46 AM Re: dumb questiin: should i start making my own fuel? [Re: monster1]
lars11 Offline

Registered: 12/16/06
Posts: 723
Loc: Sweden
will be interesting, keep safe though. Good protective clothing and face cover, check ventilation too.
If you buy one of those small machines you will get good crystal clear non winter diesel and I don't think you will harm anything.
Just using methanol and a tank, you will have to pay much more attention to the process and cleaning the fuel.

#2856962 - 01/03/13 01:15 PM Re: dumb questiin: should i start making my own fuel? [Re: lars11]
monster1 Offline

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 35
Loc: ca
those are some good questions. anything i have found on the net regarding engine problems steming from biodiesel uss comes from either plugged fuel filters or gum/tar like deposits requiring the entire fuel system to be repaired and cleaned out. these issues that i have read about are coming from commercial made fuel though. it seems to me that this is a problem with the fuel being unwashed and full of gycerin but i would think that commerical made fuel would be properly refined. anyway, just to get started at a minimal cost, i think i would plan on mixing my fuel using the 5 gallon bucket method and dumping straight into a 40 gallon cone bottomed barrel for bubble washing/storage. i don't use a lot of fuel in the winter time as my traveling and recreation is mostly in the warmer months. this is the time i'd use the fuel so i wouldn't have any cold weather related issues.

#2858677 - 01/04/13 08:09 PM Re: dumb questiin: should i start making my own fuel? [Re: monster1]
edhackett Offline

Registered: 06/09/03
Posts: 1544
Loc: Sequim, WA
Figure $150 minimum per 5 gallons to dispose of the glycerine waste properly. Get caught disposing of it improperly you would be happy to have been paying $100 a gallon at the pump.

Never attribute to engineers that into which politicians, lawyers, accountants, and marketeers have poked their fingers.

#3308926 - 03/12/14 12:08 AM Re: dumb questiin: should i start making my own fuel? [Re: monster1]
WoofWagon Offline

Registered: 06/12/12
Posts: 8
Loc: Washington State
To the original poster, I've been making my own biodiesel for 10 years.

There are three things critical for making biodiesel, quality. quality. quality. There are several really easy methods for producing biodiesel that is both high quality and having excellent cetane rating.

As I often state to those who are interesting in biodiesel or want to learn from me how to do it, "if you can bake a cake from the instructions on the box, you can make biodiesel".

Please be advised that you are going to be dealing with some toxic chemicals here, potassium hydroxide and methanol. If you just follow some simple safety rules, you'll have years of safe 'brewing' of fuel.

I use a modification of what is called the "GL Process" of making biodiesel using a venturi to mix the chemicals with teh oil and an 80 gallon water heater. There is of course more involved but the lack of space for posting will limit my design brief for another time. It is a very solid process that removes the need for anything like water washing of the biodiesel to remove residual soaps.

On the issues of filter plugging, if this is your first use of biodiesel, have a new filter with you. Biodiesel is such a great cleaner, it will get all the accumulated gunk from running dinodiesel and plug said filter. I know I had to deal with this a couple of times.

I've run 100% biodiesel down to 20F, but recommend that you blend with dinodiesel in cold temps.

As for glycerin disposal, if you create the biodiesel using potassium hydroxide and all the methanol has been removed (by distillation) you can just spread the glycerin out on the ground. King County in Washington State told me this directly from their Hazardous Waste Division. I have also been giving glycerin to the local water treatment plant to feed the digester bacteria. I often take 10 gallons of the waste glycerin and turn it into soap to sell or use around the house here. The soap will even take diesel motor oil out of clothes.
2001 F250 Powerstroke, B100 biodiesel. NTZ oil bypass
2004 Ford CVPI, 146K miles. Mobil 1 with Motorcraft filter.