Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Northern Virginia
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Re: Your Biodiesel production cost per gallon?
My batches are 55 gallons of oil, using 12 gallons of methanol. From this I usually get 45-50 gallons of finished biodiesel.
After the reaction has settled I transfer 50 gallons to the wash tank/dry tank after taking off the 17 gallons or so of the "glycerin".
Each wash uses 50/50 water/biodiesel and lasts from 2-12 hours, the first one is a mist. This usually takes about 300gallons per batch over 5-7 washes to achieve the neutral and clear water. I would like to know how you only use 20gallons. By the way, we usually are washing 2 batches at a time so we can stagger them and recycle the water from the cleaner batch in the wash cycle.
That being said, here is how I calculated the breakdown for the price:
$31.20, for 12 gallons of Methanol @ $2.60/gal
$5.63, for KOH (averages 3100g/55gal, about 8 batches per 55 pound bag)
$4 per batch for filters*
$3 per batch for propane (we use a burner to heat the oil instead of water heater elements)
$4 per batch for electricity (during the wash and dry cycles the biodiesel is kept at 90F for optimum efficiency)
$2.63 per batch for biocide (3oz, for shelf life of 6 months)
$2.86 per batch for 300 gallons of wash water**
$1.00 per batch for misc (paper towels, titration supplies, ...etc.)
$54.32 for 45-50 gallons of biodiesel, $1.09 - $1.21
* filters: 200 micron -> 30 micron -> 15 micron (water block) -> 10 micron -> 6 micron
** The city charges $9.54/1000gal, for water and sewer, sewer is not optional, they assume sewer if you use the water.
If someone can help me improve the process to save money I would welcome your input.
One of the things I have found to GREATLY save time in the process is purchasing a manly air pump, not an aquarium pump, but a hydroponics pump, mine is 80 watt @4.2 PSI. The more bubbles, without making an emulsion is the best, also, from my experience, the more water the better too. These decrease the time involved, not necessarily the cost of the process.
Updates: I have found a source for methanol locally for $1.95/gal so that should lower my costs some, and I'm also looking into methanol recovery to further lower my cost.
The fleet: 2002 F-250 XLT, 2003 F-350 XLT, and 2003 Excursion Limited all 7.3L Power Stroke Diesels!