Although it is barely a new concept, the idea of making a bio diesel has gained much popularity these days. Actually, the idea was conceived with the development of the first compression-ignition engine, which used peanut oil. This is an important point to remember when one wants to learn how to make bio diesel.
Bio diesel therefore refers to the non-petroleum-based fuel made from animal or vegetable fat. This fuel is usually mixed with ordinary diesel or used alone with an ordinary diesel engine. As such it is a viable alternative fuel source especially with the increase in fossil fuel prices.
The process of making bio diesel is relatively easy. This means you can learn the trade from various sources. There is also a huge variety of materials which can be used in making bio diesel including oils and feedstock such as soybean oil and rapeseed oil. It is also possible to get diesel from waste vegetable oils such as those used in restaurants. Other viable sources include animal fats such as tallow, chicken fat and lard. Algae is also used but most of these sources are not viable for commercial production.
If you intend to learn how to make bio diesel, you should identify your source first as the process varies with different materials. In some cases you also require specialized equipment referred to as bio diesel processors while in other cases, these are not necessary. A good example when you do not require specialized equipment is making bio diesel from used cooking oil using sodium hydroxide and methanol. However, this method produces very little amounts.
After establishing the oil source, the next step is testing it. This is necessary since the quality of your final product is usually determined by the ingredients. The two main factors that determine the quality of bio diesel you get are how acidic the source oil is and how wet it is.
The best oil sources, which will make the process easier, are those with relatively low water and acidic content. This necessitates the need to learn how to test the oil using different methods such as heating or using a water testing kit. Acidity is tested by adding the oil to a pH neutral alcohol, a process called titration.
Another major step when making bio diesel is filtration. This is done when using used vegetable oil and helps remove food particles and any other contaminants. Filtering is done mostly with drum filters which are very effective. You should learn about micron rating as it will help you select the most effective filter. The smaller the rating number, the smaller the holes in the filter will be.
Finally, before one can start full production of bio diesel, it is important to have a test batch. This can be prepared from materials purchased from the local shops. This is also the time you will make a final decision regarding the production equipment. Normally these include collection containers, bio diesel processor, oil filter and transfer capability and bio diesel washing vessel.
Storage containers and titration kits are also important. Normally, the intended capacity of production determines the equipment to be purchased. Collection of all these should prepare you to learn how to make bio diesel.