What Are the Best Tips for Making DIY Biodiesel?

Lori Kilchermann

Making do-it-yourself (DIY) biodiesel could potentially save money, but there are hazards. Some tips to properly making DIY biodiesel may not only save money, but the tips could save a life or property. The wiring in the building where DIY biodiesel is being made should be checked and the building should be of a specific type. Storage of the fuel must be approved and in the proper container after making DIY biodiesel. Proper safety precautions should always be practiced when dealing with biodiesel components and other chemicals.

When making DIY biodiesel, a fire extinguisher should be available as a safety precaution.
When making DIY biodiesel, a fire extinguisher should be available as a safety precaution.

DIY biodiesel begins with a fat that is used as a fuel. Used cooking oil, animal fat and other types of grease are commonly collected and used as the base component for the homemade fuel. Before attempting to mix any type of fuel, it is wise to check local ordinances as to whether or not a permit is required to store fuel at a residence. Alcohol must be added to the cooking oil in order to make biodiesel. A tip is to use gasoline dry gas as the alcohol additive since it is manufactured from methanol and will serve the purpose for making diesel fuel.

A catalyst is also required to make diesel fuel and can be found in the form of sodium hydroxide. Once this chemical is added to the dry gas and the cooking oil, transesterification, the process of bonding the triglycerides in the cooking oil to the alcohol in the dry gas, takes place. This is the most basic form of DIY biodiesel and is very explosive. One tip is to store this raw mixture far away from any house or people. Another is to store the mixture in a tightly sealed steel drum out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources.

A tip for transferring liquid chemicals from one barrel to another is to use a hand crank pump. Even the slightest spark from an electric pump motor, light switch or heater can cause a fire. This is especially important because another tip is to use a small hot plate or other form of heater to warm the mixture when combining the DIY biodiesel ingredients.

Heating the elements creates a faster chemical reaction and speeds up the entire DIY biodiesel procedure. This all contributes more danger to an already existing risk of fire and explosion. A fire extinguisher and other safety equipment, such as gloves, eye protection and kitty litter to soak up any chemical spills, should be on hand whenever attempting to make biodiesel fuel.

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