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An Appleseed Biodiesel processor is the most common home-made design.

An appleseed biodiesel processor is a biodiesel processor that is made out of a water heater or geyser.

appleseed biodiesel processor

Typical Appleseed Processor

There is quite a lot of information on the internet about this type of design.

It is commonly accepted that The appleseed was invented by Maria Alovert. The reason for her developing the appleseed was that she was trying to popularize a design for a biodiesel processor that could be built out of commonly available materials. Maria travels the US and lectures on making biodiesel and building appleseeds.

Some of the most important design criteria in a plant are that it should be safe in the event of a biodiesel fire, sealed with the ability to withstand some pressure should anything go wrong and chemically resistant to the chemicals. She realized that modern hot water heaters meet these criteria and designed a plant around one.

The water heaters that are best suited are manufactured from steel and ceramic lined. Copper tanks are not suitable at all.

Black Iron and steel pipe work were selected for the piping and this is suitable (galvanized fittings are not). A cheap water pump is mostly used for pumping the fluids around the process. Commonly available ball valves are used.

Some of the advantages are

  • The design is cheap.
  • It can be built from easily available parts.
  • It is safe.
  • It is able to take pressure.
  • It is sealed which reduces the potential for fire.

Some of the disadvantages are

  • Steel is a compromise when it comes to construction. Stainless steel is better (but a lot more expensive). This can affect the shelf life of the fuel.
  • Commonly the element from the water heater is used. They are not properly rated for heating oil.
  • Braided PVC piping is used as part of the design. This deteriorates with time and must be replaced otherwise it becomes unsafe.
  • The black iron fittings and piping are sometimes hard to seal properly.

One word of warning, I have seen plenty of appleseed biodiesel processors propped up on pallets and boxes. This is a bad idea. If you are going to build an appleseed, take some pride and build a proper frame. If your processor falls over while it is full of methanol you will have a real problem on your hands. As always when dealing with toxic chemicals, be safe. A frame can be build out of steel or even wood. If you don't know how to do it, don't compromise, ask someone for help.

The other potential problem area is the electrical system. Make sure that it is done by a qualified electrician.

 

Return from Appleseed Biodiesel to Biodiesel Making Equipment

 


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