Sunday, April 29, 2007

First Batch of Biodiesel

Getting Started Makeing Biodiesel

Start with new vegetable oil, and you skip titration

Step 1. Measure The Reactants
Measure the reactants in seperate containers.

For new vegetable oil measure:
1 liter of new oil into 1500 ml beaker
200 ml of methanol into a 500 ml beaker
3.5 grams of lye onto a petri dish on a gram scale

Step 2. Dissolve The Lye into the Methanol

The second step is to combine the methanol with the lye to create sodium methoxide, an extremely strong base. Once the lye is dissolved in the methanol, the sodium methoxide must be mixed with the vegetable oil right away.

1. Make sure the blender is properly put together and that it is sealed down on the base tightly. To make sure the blender is sealed, fill with water and blend on low speed for a few seconds. If there are no leaks, pour the water out and continue.
2. Carefully pour the methanol into the opened blender. Make sure not to spill any on yourself or on your work space. If any methanol spills, clean the spill with a wet paper towel and some vinegar.
3. Carefully pour the lye into the blender.
4. Put the top securely on the blender. Blend on the lowest setting for thirty seconds or until all of the lye is dissolved in the methanol. There is now sodium methoxide in the blender. Be careful.

Step 3. Mix the Reactants

1. Carefully open the blender and put the top to the side. Keep your face away from the top of the blender.
2. Carefully pour the vegetable oil into the blender.
3. Put the top back on the blender. Blend on the medium or high setting for 15 minutes. If the blender motor or the container get excessively hot, turn the blender off.

Step 4. Allow the Glycerin to Settle

Settling takes about 8 hours. Since about 75% of the seperation occurs within the first hour after the reaction, you will be able to see immediate progress. Within 8 hours, the glycerin will fall to the bottom of the blender. The layer of liquid on top of the glycerin is methyl esters, or biodiesel. There will be a visible difference between the top and bottom layers. The top layer will be a lighter color than the bottom layer. There may be anywhere from 5-20% glycerin settled on the bottom of the blender.

Step 5. Seperate the Glycerin and the Biodiesel

With a Stopcock container, put a 500 ml beaker or similar container under the stopcock and open the valve slowly. Drain the glycerin and shut the valve when the glycerin has completely drained. It is alright if you get a small quanity of biodiesel in the glycerin. The remaining liquid in the stopcock container is biodiesel.

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