Single Barrel Filtration/Dewatering Rig - design details

Collecting, filtering and dewatering of WVO SVO vegetable oil. For Biodiesel producers too.

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Single Barrel Filtration/Dewatering Rig - design details

Postby ecojetta » Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:37 pm

Here is the detailed description of my new rig. Seems to be working really well, comments and suggestions greatly appreciated. Influenced by:
http://kungpaojetta.blogspot.com/2006/0 ... plete.html
The changes I made were to make it a single barrel system, and to reduce the length of tubing required in order to keep the power required down.

General Description:

image of flow chart showing the basic layout

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photo of the rig

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(0) True vegetarian restaurant oil collected and settled in 5 gallon "cubes".

(1) PREFILTER (3 stages)

Made a poor man's bag filter holder using 4 inch plastic pipe. It sits perfectly in the 2 inch bung opening on a 55 gallon drum. The key parts are the 4" to 2" reducer and the 2" to 1" reducer. The OD of the 2-to-1 reducer is perfect for the ID of the bung fitting.

Bag filters were 2-in-1 high capacity polyester felt. Stage one was a simple drain screen. Stage two was 100/50 microns and stage three was 50/25 microns. McMaster-Carr part # 5726K35 and 5726K34. Oil was poured slowly into this prefilter assembly so that everything entering the tank was at least nominally filtered to 25 microns. Made a small plunger to speed things up a little on cold nights. Not fast but very effective.

photo of prefilter dis-assembled
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photo of prefilter assembled
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photo of pre-filter mounted in 2" bung
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(2) FIRST FILTER LOOP (TO 5 MICRONS)

The oil is pumped from about 7inches from the bottom of the tank,

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through a Goldenrod 15 micron and then through a 5 micron whole house water filter and back to the tank.

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I tested the flow rate and it was about
2 gallons / minute at 50 psi. I process 30 gallons at a time, and so I ran the first loop for about an hour for 4 passes in theory. the pump pulls 9 amps at 120V. Energy cost was approx 1kw-hour. Only problem was high amounts of static electricity building up on the plastic tubing - hence the ground wire running everywhere and back to the motor.

(3) DEWATER

The barrel was wrapped with an 80ft 160W wrap around pipe heater available from USAHardware.com part # 20-210971. I wrapped from
above the outlet to below the inlet as shown here:

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I was able to get the oil to about 95deg in approx 10 hours, then I held it there for about 8 hours. I used the aluminum foil coated bubble wrap type of insulation - much easier to work with and keep clean. i also used a tarp over the whole setup to keep the wind off. I insulated the top of the lid with a couple of towels under the tarp. I repeated the dewatering process twice to be sure, and it passed the hot pan test. An interesting note: I only process 30 Gal at a time, and so the pipe heater really heated up the air above the batch and appeared to heat from the top down which I think is a good thing for water separation. This is unlike a band heater or a submerged hot water heating element. But I am new to all this so comments are welcome.

(4) FINAL PASS to the FUELING NOZZLE

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The valves you can see in the previous photos are just sequenced and so the oil flows through the Goldenrod and then it skips the 5 micron and instead goes through a PermaCool high flow rate 2 micron filter. Most folks stop with that, but the laws of statistics are against us. So I added a final polishing filter that is 0.5 microns glass fiber string wound. I can't afford the true 0.5 micron filter and this one is $10 Part# 451K11 and the holder is part # 9979T21 at McMasterCarr. I am using it to try and improve the stats for 2-5 micron particles (the most abrassive according to Sunwizard's CAT tractor study post). It has a really strong core and is rated well for oil. I found a $3 fuel nozzle on ebay.

thanks for reading this post! I will look forward to comments...
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Postby SunWizard » Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:04 pm

Nice looking rig, and a good description and pics.

I recommend a drain at the bottom of your tank to drain the water & dirt & wet VO & tallow, since once you turn on the pump after settling, it can get stirred up. And after a few batches the amount of that stuff will increase and approach your outlet pipe.
YVORMV - Your veg. oil results may vary.
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shrink?

Postby coachgeo » Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:06 pm

is it possible to shrink your pics a little. Even on my cellular dial up which is suppose tobe about as fast as DSL... these take horribly long to load.
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drain

Postby ecojetta » Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:11 pm

thanks! I agree that after I empty this batch, it is time to put in a drain. I wish I had put one in before I fired it up.
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file size

Postby ecojetta » Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:17 pm

Coach - sorry for the file size, I will try to upload a low rez version tomorrow. I am going to try and send you the low rez photos by email. Thank you for reading my post.
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Re: file size

Postby coachgeo » Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:38 pm

ecojetta wrote:Coach - sorry for the file size, I will try to upload a low rez version tomorrow. I am going to try and send you the low rez photos by email. Thank you for reading my post.
Though I mentioned this in email I'll mention it here for all to read and think about.

You dont need to go low Res. Just crop and shrink them. 800x600 pixel size is about perfect unless there is some need to see detail.

This also means all the text in post below the pics will not be spread out so much you have to scroll all over the place just to read every post. That gets to be a bit of a PITA.

Now if fine detail is needed... kudo's to SunW for giving us enough pic space to be able to post large files that a detail pic would require.

Soooooo in review folk.... please think about keeping it spiffy :D Pics should be a size that require no scrolling around to see them unless some important detail dictates a big file.

THANX!!!
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update to rig

Postby ecojetta » Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:12 pm

I recently added a hot water heating element to this rig in addition to the wrap around heater. This is really a good improvement. I was able to bring the system up to about 110F in 2 hours (actually hotter than I wanted). Next step is going to be a thermostat for both. The combination of good insulation and the 80ft wrap around heater can be used to gently maintain temp, and the hot water heating element can be turned off after reaching the target temp (100F). The nice thing is that it is no longer a 10 hour wait to heat up the system.
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Postby John Galt » Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:06 pm

thanks for reducing the photos
Last edited by John Galt on Sat Mar 22, 2008 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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photos reduced

Postby ecojetta » Sat Mar 22, 2008 8:10 pm

ok- sorry to everyone for the pain of those large photos. I finally figured out how to reduce their size and repost without messing up this post. Hopefully these will make it easier. I really appreciate those following the post and the comments. You will need to hit reload on your browser to see the updated smaller size photos. If that doesn't work, just let me know and I can drop down one more resolution notch.

I completed another dewatering run of about 30 gallons today. All that was required was 2 hours with the hot water heater element and the 80ft wrap around pipe heater both running to get the oil up to ~100F, and then I turned off the hot water element and just cycled the wrap around heater as needed to maintain 100F for about 6 more hours. The oil appears to pass the hot pan test, BUT I have an issue with the test that is confusing me. After the pan is smoking, and I pour in the sample, I see upwelling with no bubbles, but then I start to see some small bubbles forming near the sides of the pan at the oil/pan interface. They stick to the pan and look weird. This did not happen when I did the test with an iron skillet on my gas grill running wide open. I wonder if it has to do with the no stick pan. In fact, I cannot even get a smear of oil to not coalesce into droplets in this particular pan. So before I say that this rig is working for sure, I need some help sorting out my HPT. I got this oil from an experienced veggie guy who said it was a good dry source.
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Postby SkySkiJason » Sun Mar 23, 2008 9:31 am

Put tha tiniest little amount of water you can in a sample, then hot pan test THAT. You will know instantly what yer lookin' for.

IMHO, even a few small bubbles is prolly OK. Sizzle or lots of buubles, not very good. Spit and spatter is BAD.

FWIW, I perform this test with caution every time. Splashing hot on myself is something I try to avoid.
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new post started for HPT issue

Postby ecojetta » Sun Mar 23, 2008 9:56 am

I started a new post for these HPT issues

http://www.burnveg.com/forum/about124.html
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Postby 240Volvo » Sun Mar 23, 2008 12:50 pm

Instead of standing there pouring the oil slowly into your filter, you might try using a 5 gallon water cooler bottle filled with your oil, turn it over onto the top of your filter housing, and let gravity and the vacuum from backed up oil (it stops the flow, just like a water cooler) do the work. That is assuming that your filter housing is secure enough to support the weight. Looks cool...
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Postby John Galt » Sun Mar 23, 2008 5:58 pm

I made the bag filter housing from a 5 gal water bottle with a 7.5" hole in the bottom. Works great, holds a whole cubie of oil. fits perfectly into a 2" barrel bung hole.
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pics?

Postby ecojetta » Sun Apr 06, 2008 6:44 pm

John-

Can you post a photo or two of that water bottle / bag filter housing.
Sounds great!
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Re: drain

Postby canolafunola » Sun Apr 06, 2008 8:57 pm

I prefer to not have a bottom drain. Not having one means one less potential leak point. Same reason I prefer to suspend a heating element inside drum instead of violating the side of the drum. Build yourself a mini sucker out of a freon tank. Use a 3/8 copper tubing as your pickup tube>clear hose>ball valve>freon tank. Clear hose so you can see when the oil is clear -signal to shut the ball valve.

ecojetta wrote:thanks! I agree that after I empty this batch, it is time to put in a drain. I wish I had put one in before I fired it up.
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