Dewatering and Cleaning VO with Cold Upflow Settling

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

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dewatering problem/questions

Postby david p » Sun Dec 21, 2008 7:52 pm

I've set up a cold-upflow setup similar to John Grants. The upflow settling is the same, I just filter it using whole house water filter housings. I filter it with a 20, 10, 5, and 1 micron cartridge. The oil has come out looking nice and clean. I tested the oil for water using the weigh, heat, weigh method. It failed, with about .24% water. So, I purchased a drum heater and wrapped my metal drum in that shiny insulation designed for hot water heaters. I heated the oil to 125 F and then let it cool. Then, tested for water again, and it still had the same amount of water. So, I heated it to 150 F and kept it there for two days. Still has the same amount of water. So, I stumped on how to get the water out. Here are my ideas for what might work:

- Keep it heated for longer...maybe a week. Then let it settle.
- Heat it to a lower temp, to avoid convection currents, and hold for longer. Then let it settle.
- By some quick 'n dri and put it in the filter housing that the oil passes through.
- Keep it heated all the time (this sounds expensive though).

Any feedback?

Here's some questions I've got:

It's been raining here for the last week. My drum has the lid on though. Will the humidity in the air get into the oil in the barrel?

Somewhere on this forum John or someone else had some links to a discussion about people's results from testing quick 'n dri. can someone point me to that again? I can't find it.

Thanks.

David
'02 VW Jetta with Elsbett 1 tank system (plan to run on WVO)
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Postby david p » Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:26 pm

The second link about Quick n Dri is broken.

My question is about how to get the water out, not how to test if it has too much water. I'm not sure I understand why you're saying to use the Hot Pan Test.
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Postby John Galt » Mon Dec 22, 2008 1:31 am

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Postby David » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:05 am

Many people can't get oil perfectly dry with settling alone.
I have trouble getting my head around how all the dissolved water in a drum will drop to the bottom and that some will not stay suspended even if the bulk of water is drained from the bottom of the drum. It is said that upflow works best ( only?) in cold conditions so if you are anywhere temperate, I would not expect oil that will pass a HPT from this process.

Many people say they can achieve this, I have tried and cannot. I set up a drying system that allows me to positively dry my oil in all conditions in a set time frame and do it with complete reliability.

Settling, be it upflow or otherwise will reduce the amount of water in the oil if left long enough and if you can't get the oil perfectly dry, it will certainly be easier to dry with other methods and also make filtering any particles, fats or other rubbish much easier as well.

I don't know about the method of checking water content you are using but I believe the HPT will only indicate water above a certain level and it therefore a guide more than anything definative as to water level.
Perhaps the test you are using is able to detect water below what the HPT can and that is why you can still see an amount of water in your oil. I would certainly go with the more accurate test if you have the facility to perform it.

You may find it easier to set up a drying system to finish off the oil than to try drying it with settling alone.
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Postby SunWizard » Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:30 am

david p wrote:I'm not sure I understand why you're saying to use the Hot Pan Test.

The hot pan test is much faster, easier, and more accurate than the weigh method. And it will detect a lower amount of water in the VO.

I also could never get enough water removed with settling, no matter the temperature or amount of time I gave it, even after many months.
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Postby WD8CDH » Mon Dec 22, 2008 1:13 pm

You must have almost zero convection currents for settling of any kind to work much with suspended water. Also introducing oil into a upflow settling tank that is warmer than the rest of the oil in the tank will stir up the water.

To heat a tank with minimal convection currents to allow settling while the tank is heated requires almost the entire surface of the tank to be heated, not just a 6 or 10 inch wide band. I use at least 60 feet of roof and gutter ice melt cable with the turns evenly space to heat my upflow settling tank. I also use a PID controller programed in the PWM mode to reduce thermal fluxuations.

The higher in temperature that you heat the settling drum, the faster the suspended water will settle out (if your convection currents are low enough) but unfortunatly, higher temperatures allows some of the suspended water to be dissolved in the oil and won't settle out. For that reason, I heat my settling drum to just above the cloud point of the fat and PHO in the oil.

I use only a single settling drum and add from 5 to 15 gallons of oil a day. I do not pre settle in the cubies. My initial filtering is an aluminum window screen. My oil usually tests well below 300ppm water by Karl Fischer titration method and rarely any bubbles on the HPT.
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Postby John Galt » Sat May 16, 2009 1:02 pm

Assuming a 55 gallon upflow settling tank, I would suggest much less than 10 GPH, especially if you are adding more than 5 gallons at a time. Too high of a flow rate will stir up what has already settled and prevent what is in the process of settling from settling properly.

5 gallons in about an hour is usually OK if only done once or twice a day but any more should be restricted to take about 12 hours to flow in.

If your tank and filter are sealed, the restriction of the filter might control the flow rate to reasonable values. On my system, I only restrict the flow when the filter is almost new.

The slower the flow, the better, as long as it makes it thru by the time that you need to dump the next batch of raw oil in.

For larger amounts at a time, I would suggest plumbing multiple settling drums in parallel rather than in series fed from a common "huge funnel" and feeding thru a common filter. This way, the flow rate in inches per hour would be minimized. You need to keep the restriction in the plumbing thru each leg similar to share the flow equally thru each settling tank.

Ron Schroeder
WD8CDH
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Postby kirkharrod » Fri Jun 05, 2009 6:36 am

Also, if any of your hoses are exposed to sunlight, and they have any air in them, you will get condensation. I found that out when my tarp got moved a bit, allowing sunlight to hit a poly hose.
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Postby John Galt » Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:25 pm

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Postby John Galt » Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:03 pm

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Thanks to John Galt

Postby stratrider » Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:20 am

I wanted to say thanks to John Galt for what seems to be the most affordable filtration setup I have seen yet. I am in the process of setting up the system (http://cjmcbeth.com/blog) and have gotten a good start. I am keeping a running log of how the filtration setup and conversion is going for anyone who would like to check it out. So far I am still very early in the process, but have started collecting and filtering at this point.
Check out my progress towards conversion/filtration here:
http://cjmcbeth.com/blog
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Re: Dewatering and Cleaning VO with Cold Upflow Settling

Postby John Galt » Sun Apr 01, 2012 4:07 pm

Update 04/12

The very best UVO I collect is upflow cleaned and dried and mixed with BioDiesel chemically converted from the lower quality UVO. The amount of diesel / kerosene / petrol or jetB mixed with it varies with temperature.

It runs in a single tank Toyota 3.4L TDI engine with a FPHE fuel heater before the OEM fuel filter. Everything else is stock except for the usual plug-in preheating for vehicles north of 60. It's been running this mix for about 5 years with no complaints even at thirty below and no more maintenance than using straight petro-diesel.

I mix the clean dry VO from the upflow barrel with kerosene or diesel and biodiesel in the 30 gal barrel, then pump the mix through the 5µ filter into the truck. It's important that the 30 gal mix barrel stays outside in the cold. Any fats or hydrogenated oils that would block the fuel intake screen in the tank will settle to the bottom of the barrel in the cold and will be filtered out. In the summer they automatically melt back into the mix and flow OK.


It's important that the fuel mix is dryer than 500ppm water. I constructed a carbide manometer to measure the water content of the fuel mix.

http://make-biodiesel.org/Quality-Testi ... in-vo.html

about1031.html


If the mix doesn't test dry I pump it through a cartridge column containing water absorbing polymer and back into the mix barrel till it's dry.

http://www.b100supply.com/quick-n-dri
http://www.fryertofuel.com/
http://www.homebiodieselkits.com/quikndri.html

the product is also available as
http://www.watercrystals.com/
http://www.watersorb.com/
http://watergelcrystals.com/

A 5 gal water jug with a wide hole in the bottom makes a good filter/dryer/funnel. The standard bag filters fit perfectly or you can make a good bag filter out of the backs of old jeans legs. A universal water filter cartridge from a Cdn Superstore holds the dryer polymer and fits tightly in the neck of the jug. It takes about an hour for the 5 gal of mix to flow through the dryer column/filter funnel. As any water is absorbed the polymer swells to a jell [like cooked tapioca] and slows then stops the flow. When it takes more than a couple of hours to run through I know it's time to change the cartridge of polymer. I use a small 1/10hp 115v transfer pump to circulate the mix from about a foot off the bottom of the 30 gal barrel to the filter/funnel or into other barrels for storage. The dryer/filter/funnel is described below.

When I'm using petrol, jetB or other aromatic/combustible solvent I add it directly to the vehicle tank first then add the VO-BD-ULSD fuel mix. I prefer not having petrol in the mix barrel because of hazardous/harmful vapors. The unheated fuel processing shed is also well away from buildings.

Watch exhaust on cold start-up, it shouldn't smoke for more than half a minute at the most. If it's smoking then harmful engine deposits are forming in the rings. Adjust the amount of petro additives to keep exhaust smoke to a minimum.
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Re: Dewatering and Cleaning VO with Cold Upflow Settling

Postby John Galt » Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:40 pm

15/06/14
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Re: Dewatering and Cleaning VO with Cold Upflow Settling

Postby John Galt » Tue Apr 14, 2015 9:31 pm

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Attachments
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Cold Upflow Cleaning
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Re: Dewatering and Cleaning VO with Cold Upflow Settling

Postby David » Sat Jun 13, 2015 9:34 am

Upflow nor any other settling will produce oil dry enough to pass a HPT. If it does, there was no water in it to start with. It's that simple.

NO settling can produce dry oil, dry to the point of passing a HPT which has also been shown to be a loose, if easily performed and consistent standard.

Unfortunately on the net there is no way to make people prove the cause they champion and what they are saying is based on fact rather than a personal bias to look knowledgeable, but if there was, I would defy anyone to show me oil that started out as wet and through settling of any type, then pass one. It is simply against the principals of Chemistry and physics for it to occur.
I note that some that have championed this method and insisted adnauseum it produces dry oil, also run a drying system at the end of their process. For people that are so adamant it works, they sure don't have much faith in it!

I know my filtering and drying system works and as such, when it comes out of the processor, it goes straight in my fuel tank. I don't need any backups or precautions, I know when it's dry, it's dry.

Although a proponent of settling for the removal of Free water and particles which I have done for years and seen it's effectiveness, Due to storage considerations, over the past yeatr I have gone from having a years worth of fuel + in stock to barely a couple of months. Often when I get oil I'm low in the tank of the vehicle. as Such, settling has lost much of it's practicality for me.
I bought a very large roll of felt material on ebay for about $25. I have been cutting pieces of that felt off and putting it over the top of a drum to make a pocket and letting the oil filter through that.

Here is a recent Vid on the setup.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAm-kGk_udQ

Pretty much as soon as I did that vid, I tried another setup. Being winter and the Very high levels of fats and water I have been getting in my oil. I was lucky to get 10L a day going through the felt. It was extremely clean however thanks to the sub micron rating of the fat covering the cloth.
As a pre filtering to save the water filter elements in my processor, What I did was get a piece of felt and simply make a big pocke of bag of it over the end of a piece of plastic water pipe and clamp it on ther very securely with a couple of hose clamps.
I heat the fuel in the processor up with a waste oil burner that can be seen in other vids and when it is up to about 50oC, I pump the oil through the bag arrangement. At that temp the oil flows like ater and I leave the system going about 10 Min then take the plastic pipe off the hose and reconnect it to the return for the processor. I let the bag drain into a bucket and can normally get severl uses out of it or put about 1000L of the raw dirty oil I'm getting before the flow falls off too much.
So far in the last few weeks I have processed a bit over 1200L as I'm stocking up to go interstate for a job I have been hired for and the 5UM filter on my Veg oil processor has not slowed down. with raw unsettled oil, they will plug in one 175L batch.

My processor both filters the oil to it's final cleanliness and drys the oil consistently to pass a HPT so effectively, 2-3 drops of water can be added to a sample cup full and still not show in a HPT. I'd sure like to see an upflow system do that especially when the oil went in like Mayonnaise like much of mine has been lately. I surprised myself the other night with a very wet batch of oil. I put it in the processor and took the oil up to 75oC with my waste oil burner and held it there for an hour. I could actually see the moisture steaming off in the then cold night air. I let it sit around 75 for an hour and then killed the burner. another hour and I went out to check and noticed all the foaming which is an indication of water had stopped and also the oil had got much darker, another sign of reduced water.

I thought I'd do a HPT to get an idea of where the oil was at and how log it would take after another heat up in the morning. To my disbelief, the oil passed the HPT. I just did not believe it would be that dry that quick given what I started with but retesting several times and even comparing with a known sample of dry oil, clearly it was. I pumped it out of the processor straight into some of my storage drums, a clean oil storage tank and the rest went in the vehicle. In the morning I rechecked the bottled stuff and it was passing the HPT just like I was still in disbelief of from the night before.
What made the feat even more surprising to me was the night was very humid and there was a LOT of moisture in the air which was condensing everywhere in the form of Dew. Even though I have been using this system in excess of 10 years now, it still impressed me!

The felt prefilter, even with hot oil, has been very effective performance and cost wise and something to keep in mind for those that can't or don't have time for settling. Settling is still the ultimate lazy mans sport, the longer you do nothing with the oil the less you have to do with it but the felt is a great way to pre filter when you need that oil NOW!
_____________________

I don't give a damn about what might or could happen until a significant group of people can tell me it HAS happened to them.
Until then, it's just more endless gloom and doom Veg folk law.
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