Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Our First 40-gallon Batch of Biodiesel Was.....

After allowing the first batch to settle over the weekend, yesterday we performed the first of many recommended tests....the percentage test. If the % of glycerin fallout is between 15 and 20, then your biodiesel is considered to be "good" and ready to be washed. Our percentage (by volume) was 15.7%. So, yesterday we began the first wash process, which is simply misting in water and allowing it to separate from the oil, then removing the water. Once the water is removed, the pH is tested. We have to keep washing until the pH is 7 (neutral). After the 2nd wash, our water pH is at 8. We washed again today, and the water will settle overnight. Can't wait to see what the water looks like tomorrow! My guess is that it will take a couple more washes.

In the picture slideshow, you will see the students wearing safety equipment because we are working with chemicals that do not need to be directly inhaled or be in contact with the skin. There are very sensitive chemical titrations performed to determine how much lye to add to the WVO (Waste Vegetable Oil). You will see the students performing these tests. We tested, then re-tested...just to be sure. I could write and write and write about our experiences, but in this case I believe the pictures in the slideshow do speak volumes!

Please remember to click on the slideshow if you want to see the captions that I have taken the time to add to most pictures! Thanks to Doug Keaton with the NEED Project for visiting and helping us with our first big batch!! Now we just need to finish washing....then dry. Then test. But, there is light at the end of this tunnel!!!! Perfect timing as the school year ends on Friday!

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