The Diesel Stop banner
1 - 20 of 47 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been developing my DIY refinery for a couple of years. I convert waste mineral oils or plastic to a diesel weight fuel. My most recent run produced 48 gallons in 9 hours.

In brief the set up heats the feedstock to 700 -800f (380 -420c), cracks the viscosity down to the specific gravity of diesel then condenses the fuel, leaving the carbon behind. The fuel comes out clear ~amber ~red colors and is proving to keep injectors and glow plugs clean in my 3 liter Toyota van.

The link to my blog shows various prototypes including the latest iteration, the mk6 Orion. Various Youtube clips are linked. There is lots of pages of info and pictures of the build process. Also archived early experimental set ups. Please be aware that the machine is a prototype and not expected to be the final model. It is work in progress but ideas may be freely copied. Hope it helps. Feel free to chat. Thanks.
Fuel from waste oil & plastic DIY Orion
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,101 Posts
I confess that at first, I was leery of clicking on your link, fearing it was a scam. But, you seem to be a backyard engineer doing some well thought out development. Many will say "it can't be done." I know better than to say that. It usually means it will take longer. Keep going and thanks for reporting.

I haven't read through your material entirely. I see you are ending up with a carbon crust (coke?). Do you also end up with tars and heavier oils or are they used as a fuel as well?

The carbon will probably have fuel value, compressed as a briquette. The other thing to investigate is the purity as straight carbon. If so, look into biochar as a soil amendment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Todd, thanks. Now you mention it, I realize how the post must appear. It's as though I'm saying I have something that is too good to be true. What a shame it is to see people choosing to create degenerative scams and believing that they will benefit. As you have seen, this not a scam. I'm not even selling anything!

Clearly thermally cracking oil to diesel is not for everyone. There is an element of risk and I choose to manage that risk by carefully thinking through procedures and back up plans. I have the machine isolated away from any buildings for example.

I end up with dry biscuit-like carbon (assuming the process ran right through to extracting every last ounce of fuel). So in theory even tar, bitumen etc can be cracked to fuel. The other exciting aspect is that it's not just diesel that can be made. Kerosene, gasoline etc are also possible, the difference being the temperature settings to get the fraction required.

Good idea to investigate carbon as biochar etc. Something in the order of about 250 liters of hydraulic oil feedstock reduces down to about 1 - 2 liters of carbon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
453 Posts
Subscribed.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,472 Posts
I'm on board. Keep up the good work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,101 Posts
I'm fascinated by small scale versions of what others do on a major scale. I'm in the chemical business and have worked around oil recycling for 30 years. One friend designed a "re-refinery" that operated for a few years. He sold his plans to another company who built their own... until it blew up.

So, take notes and be careful!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks. All are most welcome.

Yes, my operation is somewhat small scale compared to oil companies. My earlier prototypes were 20 liter (5gal) but this iteration is 47 liter. Earlier on I realized that I needed to be bigger to make it viable as far as time was concerned. Back then I could make 18- 19 liters which took 3 hours. Also the small 3/4" pipework was prone to carboning up, meaning still more maintenance time.
So the advent of the mk6 Orion was devised from the indispensable lessons learnt from previous mistakes and shortcomings. While on the surface the process can look simple, it is somewhat more complex and you can't simply lift the lid and see what's going on inside. No, we must exclude oxygen!!
The recent run saw 20 liters per hour continuous and next run within the month, I'm aiming for 25. Currently I've been struggling with the burner head to get a consistent flame and heat. Obviously I want to use the free fuel source that I have, gases from the retort process plus my diesel. I have some new ideas to try.

Thanks:thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
453 Posts
Keep us posted on your progress. And be careful. Don't blow yourself up. :lol:

This process excites me & scares the crap out of me at the same time. I am on the fence if the risk is worth the reward.


I haven't read all of you blog yet so you probably have this already there but what steps have you taken as far as safety goes??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
447 Posts
I think this is a great blog to follow. Please be very careful and don't get hurt. This is a great site and i am glad for all the backyard experimenters on here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Keep us posted on your progress. And be careful. Don't blow yourself up. :lol:
This process excites me & scares the crap out of me at the same time. I am on the fence if the risk is worth the reward.
I haven't read all of you blog yet so you probably have this already there but what steps have you taken as far as safety goes??
Thanks
The long standing joke around here is that one day a large black mushroom shaped cloud will be seen from miles around. Then news reporters will begin investigating a large crater....! :satan::flame:

Jokes aside,,
I'm carefully looking at safety and approaching the task by using training procedures at factories. Three methods of controlling risk are applied in succession.
1/. Eliminate
2/. Isolate
3/. Minimize
Basically, look critically at the particular task and ask oneself, can the risk be eliminated? If not, can the risk be isolated? If neither of these is possible then how can the risk be minimized?

Safety planning started early in the construction phase. I have noted some of the steps taken:
1/. The machine is isolated from closest (timber) building, about 10m (30') distance.
2/. A fire hose reel fed by high delivery irrigation pump from bore water is at the ready. Also tank water with house supply pump as a back up.
3/. Retort vessel is 8 - 10mm thick steel with 3/4" thick flanges using gasket-less taper seal with 16mm high tensile bolt fasteners.
4/. The areas with over 200*C (400f) have no tapered thread pipe fittings. All are either fully welded, flanged seal or taper seal.
5/. Temperature gauges. No fewer than 7 will be fitted before the next run to ensure the process stays within parameters.
6/. Fire extinguisher. Currently 6 are available on site.
7/. The process incorporates a bubbler which is a highly effective flashback arrestor. Also it provides a window to view gas flow.
8/. 3 flame traps at various locations on the plant. Revisions are planned.
9/. Monitoring the process is key critical as the operator needs to be totally aware of exactly what is going on. 2 sight glasses, bubbler, 7 temperature gauges, 2 tank level sight gauges, a microcontroller operated gas feed valve which shuts off at over temperature plus various sight indicators all help analyze the proceedings of a retort vessel that can't be viewed internally.
10/ Warning buzzers are planned for "out of bounds" temperatures.

Another run is getting closer, maybe next week. A few people want to come and see the machine going. A bit of work to do so I'd better get at it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
453 Posts
Todd, thanks. Now you mention it, I realize how the post must appear. It's as though I'm saying I have something that is too good to be true. What a shame it is to see people choosing to create degenerative scams and believing that they will benefit. As you have seen, this not a scam. I'm not even selling anything!

Clearly thermally cracking oil to diesel is not for everyone. There is an element of risk and I choose to manage that risk by carefully thinking through procedures and back up plans. I have the machine isolated away from any buildings for example.

I end up with dry biscuit-like carbon (assuming the process ran right through to extracting every last ounce of fuel). So in theory even tar, bitumen etc can be cracked to fuel. The other exciting aspect is that it's not just diesel that can be made. Kerosene, gasoline etc are also possible, the difference being the temperature settings to get the fraction required.

Good idea to investigate carbon as biochar etc. Something in the order of about 250 liters of hydraulic oil feedstock reduces down to about 1 - 2 liters of carbon.

Have you produced any gasoline? If you got it at the correct temp could you produce the same amount of gasoline as you are diesel?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Have you produced any gasoline? If you got it at the correct temp could you produce the same amount of gasoline as you are diesel?
Yes, with each run there is always some gasoline produced. Because the condensers are in series it first gets dumped in with the diesel, so I boil it out and collect in a separate condenser. I have run my lawnmower with the fuel. It needed a bit of persuasion to start but once going it mowed the lawn without issue.
Could I produce the same amount of gasoline? The answer is yes, at least in theory. I'd need to adjust temperatures to crack the feedstock down further. Breaking the carbon chains down more will make a lighter fuel. Octane rating would be something to study up on. So while possible, it wouldn't be nearly as simple as making diesel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I completed another run, this time making 185 liters(US49gal) diesel plus 5 liters (US1.3gal) gasoline.
Recent progress in set up refinement allowed more use of the gases generated by the retort. Effectively the process was fueling itself!

The flue stack emission was very clear whether powered by gases or liquid fuel, putting an end to the previous struggle with smoke.

The fuel making peak rate was recorded at a liter (US quart) per minute. The pace cannot currently be maintained as fresh feedstock cools the retort, consequently reducing evaporation activity.

See latest video here:
Fuel from waste oil & plastic DIY Orion
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just an update to say I completed a record run of 265 liters. (70 US Gallons). It took 13.5 hours so I'm still stuck at 20 liters (5 US gallons) per hour for rate. The diesel weight is good at .848 SG though the color is a little dark.

Am currently devising a method of preheating of the feedstock. Also am making an improved retort fluid level indicator. Am hoping to be ready within two weeks for a rerun.

My new diesel receiver reservoir scrubbed up, repaired and painted. Note the sight glass on top for viewing the incoming diesel flow:



Fuel from waste oil & plastic DIY Orion
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Hi Excalibur, have been watching this for weeks and loving it.
On your blog there is not much about how you keep the retort vessel filled and controlling it, could you be so kind to show some pics and explain?
Would it not be wise to fill it from the bottom and make the in feed pipe run down the "firebox" parallel with the retort, then the oil will get heated if not too much. The pipe diameter and wall thickness would have to be adapted for the heat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hi Excalibur, have been watching this for weeks and loving it.
On your blog there is not much about how you keep the retort vessel filled and controlling it, could you be so kind to show some pics and explain?
Would it not be wise to fill it from the bottom and make the in feed pipe run down the "firebox" parallel with the retort, then the oil will get heated if not too much. The pipe diameter and wall thickness would have to be adapted for the heat.
Thanks. Yes the project is fun and to see the golden diesel come makes my day.
I had trialed a retort level indicator device last time. See DIYDiesel: retort vessel page for pics and explanation.
Your idea of preheating has some appeal. I wish I'd built such a feature into it when constructing though at the time I was primarily concerned about maintaining absolute integrity of the retort vessel. There are no ports below the top flange and the retort wall thickness is 5/16" as well. Perhaps a feedpipe through the flame area made of steampipe quality would do the trick. Sadly getting the retort flame jacket and insulation cladding apart is a major job.
For the next run I'm going to preheat using a separate turk burner.
Thanks for the thoughts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Excalibur when you run wmo (black crankcase oil) through you're refinery do you get only the grey/black color diesel or is there clear yellow or red diesel?
 
1 - 20 of 47 Posts
Top