Industrially produced biofuels are wildly controversial but it’s very easy to produce good stuff yourself. Small businesses and even individuals are getting into producing their own biodiesel en masse. There's even a new exchange now on which producers can sell their surplus diesel to interested parties.
With petrol prices showing no signs of ending their steep hike, the business logic for producing your own diesel is strong. That’s what people at the newly created US Biofuels Exchange (US-BX) have also realized. Since they announced the launch of the exchange last month, they’ve been inundated with calls from parties interested in finding buyers or sellers of smaller or bigger quantities of biofuels.
The US-BX is accessible for everybody and operates just like eBay. There’s a ratings system to track bids until deals are completed with prices displayed real time. One of the founding members of the exchange told Ethanol Producer Magazine he’s sure the efficiency of the biofuels market place will now improve.
Similarly to the reasons for the launch of the US-BX, biodiesel processors are selling like hot cakes. So what do you need to look out for if you want to purchase a machine like this? There are various biofuel production kits on the market and most people use old cooking oils to produce their own biodiesel. Oil that has been used in the kitchen would otherwise end up in the gutter, so there’s no ethical issue about turning it into biofuel, unlike in the industrial biofuels sector, where food crops are often used.
Biofuels processors for home use vary from testing kits that allow you to make just one gallon of diesel to processors churning out 300 gallons of biodiesel, according to Muna wa Wanjiru of Merpet Sales, who has been advising people about biodiesel processors for over ten years.
A biodiesel processor comes ready made, so it won’t need installation or complicated construction work before you can start building your oil empire. The very small processors are starter kits and they’re perfect to try out biodiesel manufacturing to see if you can handle it. If you feel happy about creating your own brew, you can always progress to better equipment. It’s probably very easy to sell your starter kit to another novice given the current mania.
In the larger biofuels equipment class, Wanjiru recommends the Freedom Fueler biodiesel kit. This kit is specifically designed to produce biodiesel from any waste vegetable oil. It requires only one hour of work to create 40 gallons of fuel. Wanjiru has detailed recipes on what ingredients to use. Aside from large quantities of used cooking oils, you need a blender with a glass jar, a scale which weighs from 0 to 50 gm to the nearest 0.1 gm., one quart jar, a hand pump, a liquid measuring cup, methanol, sodium hydroxide.
The ingredients are listed for people that work without even a starter kit. Wanjiru says that Evolution biodiesel kits are also recommendable. They come in either semi or fully automated format and are great for cooking oils as well as for using other base ingredients. The fully automated equipment does all the mixing automatically and also cleans and washes the equipment and is rather more expensive than the semi-automated equipment.
If you’re serious about making large quantities of biodiesel you should think about investing in a testing kit too. Such equipment will help you to check the reactions. For a complete guide on how to produce biofuels including algae based biofuels, check out Wanjiru’s website.