Critique my twist on cold upflow settling

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

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Critique my twist on cold upflow settling

Postby powerstroke73L » Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:14 pm

I decided I had to try upflow settling even though I intend to use a centrifuge as my final filtering method along with a heated two tank system. However, I'm doing it a bit differently than the standard practice because of my particular circumstances. Here is my setup-please bear with the crappy cell phone pictures:

Image

Pictured here is the setup consisting (from the top) of a standard 5 gallon spackle bucket nested into an upside down 15 gallon barrel. The spackle bucket has approximately 20 1" holes drilled in it. The bucket is lined with an old cotton t-shirt which is fastened around the rim by a 12" HVAC duct clamp. The bucket nests in a hole cut in the bottom of the upside down drum. The hole is just small enough so that the outer lip of the bucket keeps it from falling in. This makes for a convenient removable pre-filter that's fairly fine but doesn't clog immediately. I've gotten about 30 gallons through at a time but keep in mind that this is very dirty (french fry chunks, etc...) partially hydrogenated oil.

Here you can see some of the oil:

Image

From the 15 gallon drum down the setup is basically identical to John Galt's. The top drum is connected to the 55 gallon drum on the bottom via a 4" pipe nipple with a 2" automotive exhaust pipe sleeved inside extending about 24" into the barrel. The oil then flows through the bung on the opposite side through this valve:

Image

The valve dumps (via a short section of garden hose) into an adjacent 55 gallon drum for storage until it is run through the centrifuge.

Here is where my system differs. The oil in the bottom (blue) barrel of the upflow system is oil that I've had stored for almost three years now. I had started collecting in back in college when I first "discovered" WVO and worked at a place where I could get lots of oil. I really didn't have time or money to mess with a WVO system at the time so I decided to filter it, keep it in a barrel, seal it up, and use it later. As an experiment I added 5 gallons of diesel fuel, 1 quart of Power Service Diesel Kleen, and 4 ounces of Power Service Bio Kleen just to see how it would hold up. The barrel sat sealed behind my shed outside for all this time.

Basically what I've decided to do is use this oil as my "seed oil" in the sense that any new oil I add to the system will mix with it before any oil is pushed out of the system into the storage barrel. I am curious as to how diesel fuel/PSDK will affect the settling process. I started with a completely full 55 gallon barrel and so far I've added about 30 gallons of new oil. About 10 gallons of it was beautiful clear used-only-once peanut oil I scored from a church fish fry, but the other stuff was "creamy shortening." I've got the valve nearly closed so that the new stuff is coming out at barely a trickle, but so far it looks clean and clear.

Once the storage barrel is completely full I will store it in a cool dry garage. When I finally finish my CF rig (Sunwizard style) I will run it through for final polishing before it's pumped through a 2 micron filter and into my truck.

Any thoughts, questions, comments, critiques?
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Postby SunWizard » Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:31 pm

I think the diesel &PSDK in the mix will make it so the hot pan test doesn't work so it will be hard to tell if you got all the water out.
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Postby leftcoastjeff » Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:49 pm

Please explain for me,
"hot pan test doesn't work":shock:

This doesen't make any sense to me. how can water be held in solution at high temps, fooling the hot pan test? this makes me concerned.

LCjeff
'87F-250 stock, minus that pesky water seporator/air inlet, bone stock for now.

Thomas Edison says it best, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”.
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Postby powerstroke73L » Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:51 pm

SunWizard wrote:I think the diesel &PSDK in the mix will make it so the hot pan test doesn't work so it will be hard to tell if you got all the water out.


Hmmm...I had no idea it would have that effect. I guess the only safe way to go about it is to put a "control" batch (pure wet WVO) in the CF rig initially, tweak it until it dewaters consistently, and then run the diesel/WVO mix through it.
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Postby leftcoastjeff » Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:01 pm

yes that would be a way to check your CF on water seperation, but if the water won't boil out, will it be removed by the CF? and how do you test that?
Additives.........need subtraction?

Respectivly,

LCjeff
'87F-250 stock, minus that pesky water seporator/air inlet, bone stock for now.

Thomas Edison says it best, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”.
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Postby coachgeo » Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:36 pm

leftcoastjeff wrote:Please explain for me,
"hot pan test doesn't work":shock:

This doesen't make any sense to me. how can water be held in solution at high temps, fooling the hot pan test? this makes me concerned.

LCjeff
Its not that it wont work, as in water stays in the blended WVO....... its just that results don't correlate with the known wet or dry results of the typical Hot Pan Test.

soooooo... since you dont have a "known" comparison to go by, you don't know if the results one gets with blended oil is showing you the blended WVO is wet or dry.
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Postby John Galt » Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:52 pm

This is one of the few practical test kits for measuring water content in VO/petro mixes.
http://www.utahbiodieselsupply.com/biod ... estkit.php
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Postby SunWizard » Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:26 am

leftcoastjeff wrote:Please explain for me,
"hot pan test doesn't work":shock:

This doesen't make any sense to me. how can water be held in solution at high temps, fooling the hot pan test? this makes me concerned.

Its that solvents make bubbles that look like the water bubbles so you can't tell if you got the water out.
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Postby denson » Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:09 am

I think the "seed oil" is a good idea, and worth more experimenting. I have also been tinkering with this idea but have not ran any of this oil in my truck yet. With the test kit John posted, this method could work with no need for a CF
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Postby VegMeister » Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:48 pm

Upflow, then centrifuge? Why? You're not going to save filters with the upflow because the pre-centrifuge filtering is all done with washable screens.
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Postby leftcoastjeff » Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:00 pm

Thank you sunwizard for cutting through the fat,:D

"Its that solvents make bubbles that look like the water bubbles so you can't tell if you got the water out."

That makes sense, additives screw up the easy test.
On that note, will the additives either settle out or CF out at all?

LCjeff
'87F-250 stock, minus that pesky water seporator/air inlet, bone stock for now.

Thomas Edison says it best, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”.
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Postby powerstroke73L » Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:53 pm

VegMeister wrote:Upflow, then centrifuge? Why? You're not going to save filters with the upflow because the pre-centrifuge filtering is all done with washable screens.


Anal retentive nature mostly :lol: But seriously-my idea here is that this will be a way that I can constantly add to my stockpile by removing most of the water and crud from the oil so that it can be stored without going rancid. The centrifuge will simply be used to fully dewater and "polish" batches of oil before they go into the truck.
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Postby powerstroke73L » Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:36 am

Update:

After letting the barrel settle for a day (the contents got pretty jostled when moving it into the garage) I opened the valve a crack and let the oil trickle into the storage barrel. The oil certainly has mixed fairly completely with the diesel/PSDK as evidenced by the smell. I poured the last of the oil in last night and checked on the storage barrel-there is about 30 gallons of dark honey colored (remember its only filtered via a t-shirt thus far) clear oil in the bottom.

As I mentioned before I had a variety of oils from a variety of sources, some of which were "creamy shortening." The last cubee I poured through the filter was creamy shortening. It looks as though whatever was actually liquid drained through the t-shirt material, and what I'm left with resembles a large chunk of dirty candle wax sitting in the filter. Is this hydrogenated oil that has solidified? I'm guessing the temperature in the garage overnight was in the 60s. When I get home today I'm planning on mixing this stuff with sawdust to make firestarter logs and putting a new t-shirt filter in the bucket. Hopefully one of my sources on the way home will have some new feedstock :D
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Postby SunWizard » Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:57 am

powerstroke73L wrote:Is this hydrogenated oil that has solidified?
Yes that plus animal fats.
YVORMV - Your veg. oil results may vary.
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Postby powerstroke73L » Thu Jun 05, 2008 10:45 am

I thought I'd post some closeup pictures of my super-high-tech "filter housing":

Image

Image

All you need is a spackle bucket and a hole saw. I tried to make the holes as even as possible. I used large holes mostly out of laziness (I didn't feel like drilling a hundred small holes), but it seems to work well so far. The t-shirts do a good job of filtering out any visible particulate leaving me with a very dark honey colored oil that should CF nicely. The t-shirt also catches a lot of hydrogenated oil at the current ambient temperature (mid 60s), which of course doesn't matter all that much in a well heated system like the Vegistroke, but I just feel better that it's not moving through my fuel system.
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