Simon's Guide to Building a Biodiesel Mixer
- 45 gallon drum (55 gallons US)
- 4x4ft 1-1/2x1-1/2" steel angle
- 2x 2ft approx. 1-1/2x1-1/2" steel angle
- Shaft approx. 1" 4ft long
- 2x Bearings to fit shaft with grub screws
- Pulleys to give 2:1 reduction
- Motor running at 1500rpm
- Stirring blade
- Copper pipe
- Various plumbing fittings
- Drain tap(s)
The shaft could possibly come from a lawn mower or a go-kart.
For the bearings I used one pillow block and one flange type -- it would have been two pillow blocks but I cracked the housing getting the second one off the shaft it was on.
For the stirring blade I used a cooling fan blade from an Austin A35. The first test with water proved this to be too big -- the water flew all over the place. I cut it down to about 5". It's welded to an old gear that fits the shaft.
Building the mixer
Start with a 45 gallon drum. Cut half the top out using a hammer and chisel. Cut the two 2ft lengths of 1-1/2x1-1/2" angle so as they fit inside the drum. Make them the same length and the bearings will line up. Mark out and drill the angle to take the bearings. Weld one piece of angle under the top and onto the side. Weld the other about 8" from the bottom.
Simon Wells is an engineer who lives in Reading, England. This is his Mark II biodiesel processor -- visit Simon's website for photographs and details of the smaller Mark I, now being used for mixing the sodium methoxide, which is then transferred to the big Mark II mixer via a solvent pump.
© Simon Wells 2000, 2001
Dale Scroggins's processor is "a 100-liter processor made from mostly salvaged materials that almost fills itself, mixes everything, recovers the unused methanol, washes and dries the ester pretty much by flipping a few switches... I first evacuate the tank, then suck in the oil through a filter setup that I'm a little too proud of. I mix the methoxide separately, using a drill press with a paint mixer installed, then suck it into the tank. Then flip the pump switch. Watch through the clear hoses and marvel. Later, flip off the pump switch, check for separation, flip on the vacuum pump (which is connected to a liquid trap which is connected to the condenser which is connected to the tank) and watch the excess methanol collect in the trap. When no more collects, I open the tank to the atmosphere and drain off the glycerine. Then suck in water and begin the wash." (From a message to the Biofuel mailing list, 11 Jan 2001)
Closed loop processor
Make your own continuous reactor! Oscillatory Flow Mixing (OFM) provides highly effective mixing in tube reactors by the combination of fluid oscillations and baffle inserts ... OFM is particularly suited to continuous processing. How it works, Research, Technology, Publications, and more, with diagrams and photographs.
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