Published on November 7, 2007
Biodiesel Production A design of Greener/Distributed Energy System: Biodiesel Production A design of Greener/Distributed Energy System By Justin Sciulli 7/26/2007 REV 1 Department of Mechanical Engineering Link to Sustainability and Project Goals: Link to Sustainability and Project Goals Link to Sustainability With Diesel fuel approaching prices greater than $3.00 a gallon there are many economic impacts to which society must bare. One way of reducing our dependency on foreign oil and improve the environment is to use small scale Biodiesel Production in conjunction with Waste Oil Feedstock's. Below are a list of the goals/objectives that were covered in my project. Project Goals - Devise/create a Biodiesel Unit capable of producing 30+ gallons of fuel after each cycle - Comprised of materials mostly found in the consumer market - Have some level of automation - Compact - Cost Effective - Primarily uses Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) as the feedstock Background Information: Background Information Project Information The initial research for the project begin as my senior project in the spring semester of this year. From this initial research I designed and implemented a larger scale of our prototype. General Biodiesel Information Biodiesel is formed via a process called Transesterfication. In this process an Ahochol (Methanol) and a Base( Sodium or Potassium Hydroxide) are combined to create the fuel. The amount of base used is determined via a Titration. Biodiesel is about as viscous as regular Diesel fuel, but Biodiesl gels and clouds as a much higher temperature (critical for winter time). Biodiesel offers higher C-tane and more lubrication than regular diesel fuel (ULSD). -When Biodiesel is burned there are far less emissions than that of regular petroleum diesel. Background Information: Background Information General Biodiesel Information CTD. B100 B20 Total Unburned Hydrocarbons -67% -20% CO -48% -12% Particulate Matter -47% -12% NOx +10% +/-2% From EPA “Comprehensive Analysis of Biodiesel Impacts on Exhaust Emissions”. Fuel economy with Biodiesel typical decreases when compared to regular diesel (depends on blend). Glycerin is a by-product which can be distilled for methanol and then sold to soap manufactures. Biodiesel is non-toxic. Small Scale Solution: Small Scale Solution The Biodiesel process that I modeled the system after uses the following steps: Dewatering/Filtration Reaction/Methoxide Vessel Washing Tank Drying Tank Dewatering/Filtration: Dewatering/Filtration The Dewatering/Filtrations stage is composed Of two 55 gallon drums that have the bottoms cut Out of them for access to the top bungs. Key Features Diesel Craft Centrifuge Two 220v Water Heater Elements One 110V circulation heater Gear Driven pump with flexible coupled motor Portable Reaction/Methoxide Vessel: Reaction/Methoxide Vessel The Reaction/Methoxide vessel is the heart and soul of the biodiesel process. Here all of the chemicals are combined and the biodiesel is created Key Features Dubs as a settling tower Water tank is flipped upside down for ease of draining. Methoxide tank is gravity fed. 110V Heating Element Wash Tank: Wash Tank The washing tank is used to remove the excess methanol/catalyst from the fuel. Water is pumped in and allowed to settle. Key Features Low amp RV Shurflo Pump Bete 120 Degree Cone Spray Nozzle with bypass. Plumbed in flexible tubing 110V Heating Element Drying Tank: Drying Tank The drying tank is used to remove the suspended water from freshly washed fuel. Key Features Ability to transfer finished fuel via leak free cam locks Independent of washing system so a batch can be washing and drying at the same time. 110V Heating Element Testing: Testing Testing will ensure that the fuel produced is of a high quality. There are two main ways to test the finished fuel: Lab Testing Testing in accordance with ASTM D6751 Very expensive, but conclusive Small Scale Testing (Homebrew Testing) 3/27 Test Cloud/Gel Point Water Content (Mobil 1 Test Kit) Very rough estimate but cheap. Energy Used/Production Cost: Energy Used/Production Cost The purpose of this spread sheet is to show the amount of energy used and a finite production cost for a 20 gallon batch: While $1.35 per gallon is not bad I was aiming for about $.90 a gallon. The price is so high mostly because I was developing a process so there was an extra expenditure of energy/resources while attempting to figure out the best way to create the fuel The next step will be to devise a more efficient way of making the fuel and looking at other avenues to acquire cheaper methanol (distilling).