With the price of diesel shooting up by the day this could be a good time to start looking at home-brewing biodiesel. This is a great way to save tons of money on fuel, but it requires a significant investment of your time. For some people it is worth the time to be able to save money and to run a fuel that is more environmentally friendly than regular diesel. Pretty much your only monetary costs will be for parts to make a processor (a lot of which you can find for free), methanol and lye. You’ll also need to make sure you can secure some sources of free waste vegetable oil from local restaurants around you. Without a source of waste oil you are pretty much out of luck.
Does home-brewing biodiesel sound like it is for you? How do you even get started? Well it’s your lucky day because Hans Huth, a Tucson home-brewer, has written a thorough 286 page manual available for free online for just such interests. He writes extensively on making your own biodiesel in Arizona with more information than you ever thought you needed. This book is aimed at making bio specifically in Arizona. The information, however, is relevant to any location, you can just skip the info regarding Arizona laws, etc. Hans starts this free manual by exploring the history of the diesel engine and basic information about what biodiesel is.
Something you’ll find missing from most biodiesel homebrewing manuals is legal considerations. Hans covers these in detail giving information about zoning laws, road taxes, firecodes, waste disposal, etc. He covers these very well and I’d recommend not skipping this if you are serious about brewing your own bio and want to be as legitimate as possible. There are particularly important issues surrounding waste disposal. While biodiesel itself is quite harmless you still need to find a responsible way to dispose of the glycerin and dirty waste water which may contain residual methanol.
From there he goes on to cover other considerations to keep in mind when switching to the use of biodiesel, such as its potential affects on your car. If you have an older diesel vehicle, say from the 80′s, you may run into problems with rubber tubing and seals being eaten away. This is largely irrelevant with newer diesels as the use of rubber was phased out in the early 90s or late 80s. Something to be aware of in newer diesels that have never run on biodiesel is that regular old diesel fuel leaves deposits in your fuel tank and lines that biodiesel will sweep out. Biodiesel has very good cleaning properties and will clean your lines thoroughly and possibly clog your fuel filter. After this initial cleaning of your fuel system you won’t have to worry about clogging up your filters anymore.
Hans also writes in-depth about building a biodiesel processor, collecting oil, filtering oil, and actually brewing the oil into biodiesel. He does this in a very practical and helpful way with pictures that illustrate the whole process. Overall this is the best manual I’ve seen for home-brewing biodiesel. I highly recommend this.
Head over to www.biod101.com and download this book for free and start brewing! If you like it send Hans a donation, Good luck!
Not interested in homebrewing but want to run biodiesel? Check out our map showing where you can buy biodiesel in Arizona. [here]