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Bio-Diesel and Alternative Fuels Discussion of biodiesel (homegrown or store bought) and other alternative fuels for diesel-powered vehicles.

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Old 12-04-2012, 08:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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FIRE!!

Hey everybody I just wanted to post up an experience that I had today in hopes of helping someone else from making the same mistake in the future.

Like most of you I blend 85/oil 15 RUG. I have been doing this for little over a year and have learned quite a bit. I use a cold upflow, heated centrifuge and settling as my basic method. This morning when the oil was cool I used a utility pump which is a little giant pump to move my RUG from my 55 gallon barrel to my mixing barrel. After the gas was in I removed the transfer pump and turned on my mixing pump and let it mix for 15 minutes in the mixing barrel. When this was done I took my transfer pump which has a hook type handle on it and I hung it on the inside of the mixing barrel. The other end of the hose was placed inside my settling barrel. I turned the pump on and POOF everything went up in fire!! I immediately removed the pump and put the metal lid on the first container but in so doing the second container had lit up. Fortunately I had its lid right next to it and I put it on as well. Then I just had to put out the fire in the pump hose and a rag that had caught on fire. A total of about 3-5 seconds. Enough time to singe my eyebrows, eye lashes and hair. My mouth must have been somewhat open as well because it felt like my tongue was slightly burnt as well. Im telling everybody this because I made a few serious mistakes and hopefully I can help someone else from making the same mistakes.
Mistakes made.

1. Using a electric pump to transfer gas. This is what sparked the fumes.
2. Not clearing the gas from the lines. Normally I take some of the mix and transfer it back into the upflow tank in order to clear the line. So I had gas in the line and it had spilled a little while moving the lines around.
3. Hanging the pump inside the barrel. Essentially I had a bunch of trapped fumes inside the barrel with a good mixture of oxygen which equals a perfect scenario for ignition.

The one thing that I did right was to have the metal lids right next to the containers. This allowed me to starve the fire for oxygen and put it out very quickly. A metal lid was key in this scenario. I dont know if a plastic lid or container would have worked as well.
I will be redesigning my system and the methods that I use on everything . Hopefully this quick right up can help prevent anyone else from making similiar preventable mistakes.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Good job, you didn't panic and came thru under pressure. That's what I hate about rug. Currently I'm filling 5 gal containers and pouring into mix barrel. I use a cordless drill and paint mixer paddle to mix. It still makes me nervous, cause you can smell fumes from rug. Is there a safe way to pump rug? And could a cordless drill spark the fumes off rug? Thanks for sharing your experience.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Cordless drills still use brush motors - they throw lots of sparks. I never pump my gasoline - I pour it. I mix it with a length of PVC pipe and elbow grease. I wouldn't even recommend using a heated centrifuge setup with it - its already thinned down to D2 viscosity.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5.9 rookie View Post
Is there a safe way to pump rug? And could a cordless drill spark the fumes off rug? Thanks for sharing your experience.
The safest ways would be a manual pump, low air pressure, or a dedicated gasoline pump.

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could a cordless drill spark the fumes off rug?
DEFINITELY. Especially if it is one with a brake. My snap on cordless will send a spark out of the case every time you let off from full speed.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I used to centrifuge hot wmo and rug together but then I realized that the rug was evaporating and messing up my mixtures. Now I let the wmo cool before adding the rug and then let my circulation pump which also drives the centrifuge circulate the w85. I have a manual bypass valve on the centrifuge that I completly open up.

Any motor that generates sparks will light up the gas fumes. One easy way to test it is by running it when it is completly dark. I believe that the gas specific fuel transfer pumps are spark free. Since I dont have one right now I will probably just use a hand pump or a siphon and let my mixture pump mix the w85.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Close one!

Quick, smart thinking averted certain disaster. Good job!

Best thing you can do is pour in the gas.
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Close call! You are very fortunate to get buy with so little damage to body and equipment.

Here are my rules for working with RUG:

1) All barrels are vented and grounded to the electrical system.
2) No motor is allowed to run when I am handling RUG
3) RUG is poured by hand, then transfered by low air pressure into the sealed, vented, grounded barrels.
4) Mixing is done in the mixing barrel by the pump used to add WMO to the centrifuge. Manual valves by pass the centrifuge.
5) Currently, I do not have a fire extenguisher in the "refinery". An over sight I will soon correct.
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I use low psi air pressure to pump everything, also use it to mix my RUG in. I have a 5 gallon "injection" tank that I first pour my gas into, add 20 psi to the injection tank, then by opening/closing valves I reverse flow the RUG through my 20" bag filter/housing (cleans the filter) and the RUG is injected by air pressure into the WMO at the bottom of the drum.

Also use the air to mix. Really simple, once all the RUG is injected into the WMO, I just keep pumping air in (it is going in at the bottom of the drum) which violently stirs the whole mix.

Glad your incident turned out safely!!
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Glad to hear you werent seriously hurt, I had the same thing happen making my super sucker. It was a good thing you had the metal lids near by, a fire extingusher should also be only a couple steps away as well. Get better and start making fuel again.
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:47 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I never liked RUG due to the flammability.

I only use K1 to thin my wmo.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:42 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Damn right your mouth was open! Its the natural OMFG reaction!!!

Seriously, I'm so glad this did not end worse - the eyebrows will grow back. Good job acting quickly and having the wherewithal to know what to do!!!!!! Thank you for sharing.

We recently did a 'Hazard Analysis' thread on another forum and discussed all of the hazards and safety precautions we could come up with. Since y'all are messing with RUG - there will be some additional hazards and measures that should be taken.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:32 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I work for a LARGE manufactuing plant. We use solvents and chemicale in our process. The plant always drills safety at us. We we train an a variety of items at different intervals, which is probably OSHA mandated. Propper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) now comes natural to me. ie:Gloves, glasses, face shield, etc...

The transfer of the chemicals we use in our W85 concosions should be done as safe as possible. Grounding all the tanks with jumper cables works great. Grounding the container you are pouring from to the container you are pouring to is a must, as well as having that ground run to the ground of your house or a grounding rod into the earth.

Ventalation is a must as well as wearing a resperator. mixing with air and air tools eliminates sparks but may build up static electricity.

Containment of spills should be looked at, as well as spill clean up. Consider a 8 mil plastic floor with 2x4 boards for a parimeter, large enough to handle the quanty of your mix.

If you don't have a properly rated fire extinguisher for oil then buy one, or two. ( your wife will be proud of you)

Glad to hear you are OK and thanks for having us have this conversation.
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