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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My last batch of biodiesel has a cloudyness and I cant fugure out why. I've done alot of searching on the internet and gotten all kinds of different answers but I cant quite be sure what I did wrong. After several washes my wash water is perfectly clear but the bio diesel is very cloudy. Most answers point toward having water in it but I dont think that is it since I have been drying it for almost 24hrs and its not getting any more clear. Then next better theory is that it is tallow esters. If I understand correctly that is fatty substance in the bio. If it is tallow esters does that mean that I did my titration process incorrectly? I think this batch will end up goin into the tank to heat my house instead of my truck fuel tank either way unless there is a way I can fix this. Anyone have any ideas, advice or pointers on what I may have done wrong or how I can fix this?
 

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To make sure that there is no water what so ever try warming it up to 120 degrees. Then curculate it for a while with a small fan blowing into your wash tank. The heat will help evaporate the water. Take samples after it circulates after 20 mins. See if it is clear. If not keep going and take sample again later. Keep in mind though that the heat will also allow a small amount of water to not be visable. Once it is clear turn the heat off and alow it to cool down while circulating. Take a sample again when it gets to 100 degress. If clear then you should be in the clear. If it is cloudy still it sounds like the titration may have been off a bit. I would have to bet though you will be fine if your wash water was running clear though. This heat method I have been doing for a while as I process 40 gal batches every 24 hours and can not wait for water to drop out of the fuel. It just takes to long. Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Chris. If the drying does not work I was thinking about trying to re-react it. I wanted to take a pint of it or so heat it up to 140 and add a small anmout of methanol and catalyst to it and see if i get more glycerin out of it. Any input? Good idea, bad idea?
 

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I would say give it a shot. Never tried it though. I guess the hard part is figuring how much methidox to mix. Since there is no way to figure out how far off the titration was originally. Keep me posted, i am courious to see if it was just water or if re-procession it works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
So I think i figured out what I was doing wrong. When my biodiesel is in my drying tank it is clear enough to see through. Easily. When I put some in a test tube with water at about 50/50 ratio and shake it, it takes about 3 or 4 minutes to separate and after that the bio-d is then cloudy. I dont think I had water in the biodiesel untill I shook it in the test tube, mixing it together and making me think that I had other problems with my washing and drying process. Does that sound like my (rookie) mistake? Because I circulated it at 140 degrees F last night for about 3 hours. Now today it has cooled to the temp of my shop, about 50 degrees F, with the results stated above.
 

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do you run straight Bio in your truck? i run 5 gal of B99 every so often but i would love to make my own, what does it cost to get setup? Thanks,
 

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So I think i figured out what I was doing wrong. When my biodiesel is in my drying tank it is clear enough to see through. Easily. When I put some in a test tube with water at about 50/50 ratio and shake it, it takes about 3 or 4 minutes to separate and after that the bio-d is then cloudy. I dont think I had water in the biodiesel untill I shook it in the test tube, mixing it together and making me think that I had other problems with my washing and drying process. Does that sound like my (rookie) mistake? Because I circulated it at 140 degrees F last night for about 3 hours. Now today it has cooled to the temp of my shop, about 50 degrees F, with the results stated above.
Do you know what the 3/27 test is? If so, try it. If you want to know if you've brewed high conversion biodiesel, you can use 3 parts (ml) biodiesel to 27 parts (ml) methanol (at room temperature - 70*F) and the 3/27 will reveal a conversion ratio and also, if it's present, indicate water as well. If the methanol clouds, you have water and/or soap in the fuel and that will cause some clouding. If your fuel is correct, the biodiesel will become completely suspended in the methanol without any fallout and the methanol mix will remain relatively clear. The 3/27 test will reveal a lot if done once prior to washing and once after drying.

Also, I note you're from ND. The low temps you're having could play a major role in the cloudiness and is indicated by you stating the fuel is clear in the finishing tank. How long does it take for the biodiesel to cloud and what is the temperature at which it clouds? If you've brewed your fuel from WVO that has 10% or more animal fat entrained in it, the cloud point temperature will be much higher than for 100% vegetable oil. To prevent this, I always let the animal fats settle out of the WVO and only process the lighter oils in colder weather, leaving the heavier animal fats to process in the summer for a warm weather fuel.

Regards,
Keith
 

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So I think i figured out what I was doing wrong. When my biodiesel is in my drying tank it is clear enough to see through. Easily. When I put some in a test tube with water at about 50/50 ratio and shake it, it takes about 3 or 4 minutes to separate and after that the bio-d is then cloudy. I dont think I had water in the biodiesel untill I shook it in the test tube, mixing it together and making me think that I had other problems with my washing and drying process. Does that sound like my (rookie) mistake? Because I circulated it at 140 degrees F last night for about 3 hours. Now today it has cooled to the temp of my shop, about 50 degrees F, with the results stated above.
Ok, this makes sense. When you do the water / fuel mix you have to be carefull note to shake it alot or violently. When mixed fast there will be a small percentage of oil and water that will combine almost making what I call moyonase. That's the cloudieness you see. If your wash water was running clear before the test then most likely you have washed all the left over trace items out.

How long does it take for the water in the fuel to completely drop out after you wash? I gave up on that way because it took way too long. Try warming it up the way I mentioned before. Here is a pic of part of my set-up. Off to the right, out of the photo, is the main processing tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
do you run straight Bio in your truck? i run 5 gal of B99 every so often but i would love to make my own, what does it cost to get setup? Thanks,
I have not run any bio through my truck yet because I want to be sure I have as high quality of fuel as possible before I dump it into a $20,000 truck. I do plan on mixing like you do about 5 gallons per tank later and by mid summer I will probly run it 50/50 with petro. If you are thinking of making your own I started by watching videos on Utah Biodiesel Supply - Biodiesel Processing Supplies, Equipment, Processors and Information - Biodiesel Homebrewing. After that I bought "Do It Yourself Guide to Biodiesel" by guy purcella, and later found a more in depth book "Biodiesel Basics and Beyond" by William Kemp wich I like slightly more.

Chris & Keith: My bio did not cloud in the wash/dry tank, but only after shaking it in the test tube with water did it begin to cloud. So I did the 3/27 test at 70 F and have gotten no cloudiness at all. Are there any other test or checks either of you do before putting it into your truck?
 

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Pour some in a clear quart size jug (test tube is to small in diameter) and if it is crystal clear then your good to go. I used to bring it to a buddy of mine that has a biodiesel processing plant to have it tested. It was always good each time so I wash, dry, do the clarity test and then burn it up!
 

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Are there any other test or checks either of you do before putting it into your truck?
Can't say about Chris, but the final test for me is the fuel's clarity. I use a clear, clean, quart canning jar and fill it with my finished fuel. Only when I can "read" my fingerprints on the opposite side of the jar with the fuel at or about the temperature in which it'll be used will I say it's ready for my unit. The top of the oil has to have a glassy, mirrored brass look.

I'll be honest with you - the first time I put bio in my truck, I was scared I'd ruin it - but once the filters were changed out I became more confident in my ability to brew the fuel and finish it correctly.

One tip: set out to make EVERY BREW a piece of art, a work of science, a project you're proud of. You won't go wrong with the "extra" effort. If you do that, your fuel will be more pure than that which you pump from an underground storage tank.

Regards,
Keith
 

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Pour some in a clear quart size jug (test tube is to small in diameter) and if it is crystal clear then your good to go.
LOL! Seems we have established the same standards for our fuels!

Regards,
Keith
 

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I do the same thing. It must be clear enough to see through in a quart canning jar before it goes to the truck. My fuel keeps clouding up this batch so maybe ill try heating it up and see what happens.
 
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