Brian’s Morning Newsletter March 26th 2008
It is a beautiful Spring morning and on top of that I managed to fire up the Appleseed biodiesel processor after work yesterday afternoon for the first time this year. It always takes a little extra effort to get things moving properly the first run and yesterday was par for the course. Last Fall I left 25 gallons of WVO in the settling & measuring tank which turned out to be a bad idea. The oil congealed and it took forever to get it out of the tank and into the processor. Turns out a hapless mouse or two couldn’t resist the smell of Chinese fast food grease, and went for a fatal swim in the goo. I don’t mind losing a mouse, but they clogged up the outlet pipe. Anyway, next year I won’t leave the open topped tank full tempting the critters. Lesson number one.
The next surprise was a gasket came off one of the hose fittings between the processor and the wash – settling tank and when I went to transfer the processed biodiesel it squirted out on the floor a little bit, luckily I have a kill switch right there and stopped the pump before more than a cup of the precious liquid fuel spilled out. I found a gasket in another fitting and thanks to a smart plumbing setup, I am able to isolate all pipes and tanks on both ends with shut off valves. It was a quick fix and now we have 30 gallons glycerol and biodiesel ready to be separated. This was a small first run because of the congealed oil and the varmints, but that’s okay as long as that was all that is going to go wrong on this batch.
I still need to clean the biodiesel storage tank as it has some muck leftover from last year in the bottom. Not sure how I am going to clean the two 55 gallon barrels which comprise the biodiesel storage and transfer system, I’ve never had to do this before. I ran some old biodiesel through it yesterday, but I don’t think it helped. There is some orange juice looking crud coming out. That isn’t good and I won’t put that in our engines. I’ll pull the 10 micron filter today and see what drains out. Biodiesel as well as dinodiesel will support bacterial growth, and I think I heard that it often is orange. I see that Graydon sells a biocide called Killz on his site http://utahbiodieselsupply.com I should order that and a few other goodies to get us going for this, our third season making biodiesel.
Tonight, the group from Japan in their awesome 2.4 liter V6 biodiesel powered Toyota Land Cruiser are arriving in Las Vegas. I hooked them up with Wid S. and he in turn got the historic Plaza Hotel to comp them a room for the night. Hopefully fellow BMNer Lee E. from the Las Vegas Optic will be ready to interview them tomorrow morning. We understand the group (see: http://biodieseladventure.com) needs to keep moving, so my offer to show them a real American castle and our hot springs in Montezuma may not work out for them time wise. They will find the time to come up to Las Tusas Ranch and see our Appleseed biodiesel processor in action. I think they may need more WVO too. We might also need to stop by the Chinese restaurant and pump a little oil for them.
We have an update from Mackenzie this morning. It seems his mother didn’t get the story quite accurate about his accident with the barrel. He wasn’t cutting the top out of a barrel, he was using a MIG welder to add feet to the drum to use for WVO collection. He didn’t say what was in the drum. Well I can let you read his letter. Also, our community beekeeper Ken G. wrote in with some really interesting information about the healing power of unpasteurized honey and an offer, which if made to us, I wouldn’t dream of refusing from our dear friend from Mesquero NM.
I finally got out to our biodiesel shed and took some pictures of this morning’s startup.
Here is my little Processor viewed from the open window. Gotta keep lots of fresh air moving through.
I had to lift the lid and clean the mister nozzles, bummer because this is when there is the most methanol fumes in the unwashed biodiesel. The only thing to do is drink a couple of beers as ethanol helps cells metabolize methanol. Sigh. didn’t really want a beer at 9:00AM but what the hell.
Here is a picture of the wash tank with the antisiphon drain vent still hanging out. on the right is the settling and measuring tank where the hapless mice spent the Winter entombed in grease.