Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Dirty Hands Coop uses a BioPro 190

In June, my friends Harry, Judy, and I got together to brainstorm a way to organize a biodiesel coop. I had mentioned wanting to do less brewing at home, and wanting more community involvement- also, really wanting a BioPro, which converts yucky oil to biodiesel in 48 hours. I had seen the test results on fuel from a BioPro at a Girl Mark advanced bio workshop in Berkeley, where the inventor of the pHLip test, Randall von Weddell was present, and said he'd never seen homebrew test so well with his test.
The long and short of it is that we got a BioPro 190, and organized the coop so that folks would have to bring their own oil (BYOO!)- hence the name, the Dirty Hands Coop.. The whole thing has been made possible by neighbor and friend Tom who has generously allowed the use of his workshop to host the whole operation. Thank you Tom! It was easy to get a bunch of interested folks together from various listserves in the area, and somewhat to my surprise, they found restaurants nearby to get oil from. We all ask the restaurants to put their oil back into the 5 gallon cubes that had the fresh oil. This is a little bit of a pain for them, cuz the oil in the fryer is hot, and can't go directly into those carboys- it ususally goes into a big steel pot to cool, and then someone (or two) has to pour the oil into the carboy thru a funnel (it's nice when you provide them with a big wide one).
Anyway, coop members deliver their oil to the separate bathroom at our facility, where they put their name on the carboy and log about how much oil they think they brought. I measure it by comparing it to a carboy with gallon markers, and adjust their number if needed, then bring it inside the shop. When the BioPro is free, I dump the oil directly into it thru a screen from a clothes dryer which happens to fit perfectly over the machine's rectangular opening.
Before that actually, I titrate the oil if it's from a restaurant that we haven't gotten oil from yet, and also take a look to make sure there's not a water layer under the oil. The carboy system is good for seeing that water contamination, and also for ease of picking up the oil w/o messy pumping.
Add the chemicals, push the start button and away we go. 24 hrs later, drain the glycerin, fill the wash barrell, and push the wash button. 24 hrs after that, the fuel is finished, and ready to pump into our 70 gallon storage cubes.
We pump the bio into cars using a handpump from the storage cube, which is also kept in the bathroom where the oil is dropped off.
We even applied for and received our methanol permit!
We also had our fuel tested and the total glycerin was 0.12 - half the ASTM spec! And recently we had our fuel submitted for the full gamut of ASTM tests, and voila, we have commercial quality fuel!
We are supplying 20 people with this baby!!

BioLyle's Biodiesel Workshop


Anonymous said...

You guys "ROCK" can I ask how difficult it was to form the cooperative and how well it was accepted? What challenges did you run into during the process?


Douglas P said...

Did you encounter any insurance problems? Is Tom covered? We want to make bio at our farm and the insurance guy is not happy about it.


BioLyle's Biodiesel Workshop said...

Please contact me with specific questions: biolyle@gmail.com