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The Biodiesel Formula

There is no secret biodiesel formula, although some companies would like you to think that there is. Their web sites say they cannot share the way they make biodiesel due to Trade Mark, or Patent, or intellectual property issues.

Sure, there is a lot of research going on with new generation catalysts, ultrasonic mixers, dry wash systems and a lot of other facets of biodiesel. After all it is a new industry. But the basic method of producing biodiesel has not changed in a hundred years.

Where does biodiesel come from? Long before biodiesel was given a name, in the mid 1800's, chemists used the biodiesel process to remove valuable glycerin from oils. The part that was left over the 'Ester' or biodiesel was not of much use to them.

Fast forward a hundred or more years to the oil crisis in the 1970's. People soon worked out that using vegetable oil as an engine fuel was cost effective, but the glycerin in the oil caused problems as it made the oil too thick for the fuel injection system. They didn't have to look far to find the solution on how to remove the glycerin.

biodiesel chemistThe modern way of making biodiesel is called transesterfication. Don't worry about the long word it just means that we remove the glycerin from the oil and replace it with another molecule. This thins out the oil and makes it suitable for use in an engine.

If you read Simple Recipe For Biodiesel you will find a simple, easy to follow Biodiesel formula. There are also more advanced formulas but when making biodiesel at home it is easiest to stick with simple, easy to follow formulas.

Most people making biodiesel at home use old cooking oil, there is an additional stage required to turn this into biodiesel. This stage is testing the old oil for its Free Fatty Acid (FFA) content. When food products are cooked in oil at a high temperature the oil starts breaking down. It breaks down into Free Fatty Acids. FFA's are toxic and they are the reason that a restaurant has to change it's oil frequently. As the oil breaks down in also starts tasting bad which is another reason for changing the oil.

What the biodiesel producer does is to determine how much Free Fatty Acid is in the oil. This is a simple process with a long name - titration. We cover the process in detail in Biodiesel Titration.

The titration results in an amount of Catalyst (usually Caustic Soda) that needs to be added into an amount of methanol and mixed into the oil. This then results in Biodiesel.

 

 

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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methanol removal from glycerin 
hi there i am wondering how much most people out there are able to remove meth from say a hundred litres of glycerin i have been doing this for aboutt …

Refined oil or crudes oil as a raw material of biodiesel 
Dear Sirs I have a question concerning raw material: I would like to use a vegetable oil ( sunflower oil,rapeseed oil or soya bean oil). We use …

Johnironsmith Not rated yet
I have been making biodiesel for four years. During this time I have been running on 100 percent bio two vehicles . A vauxhall Mariva 1.7 tdi four4 years …

Johnironsmith Not rated yet
I have been making biodiesel for four years. During this time I have been running on 100 percent bio two vehicles . A vauxhall Mariva 1.7 tdi four4 years …

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