You can make your own veggie oil fuel for those outdoor “tiki torches” and also learn what natural ingredients to add to create a pleasant-smelling mosquito repellent to add to the torch fuel. Biodiesel is made using the process of transesterification, which is the use an alcohol such ...as
methanol in the presence of a reactant or catalyst such as sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide to chemically break the molecules of the raw oil into fatty acid esters with glycerol as a by-product.
Biodiesel is be made from various oil lipids such as vegetable oil, animal fats, and waste or recycled oils such as waste fryer oil. First, methanol and sodium hydroxide (caustic lye) are mixed to make sodium methoxide. The sodium methoxide is aggressively mixed with heated vegetable oil, and the mixture is allowed to settle.
When a biodiesel batch is first started, water cannot be present in any amount in your biodiesel ingredients. If water is present, large clumps of caustic soda may form that are hard to break up. The presence of water in the batch also affects processing negatively and may make soap, not fuel. An
excess of methanol is also normally used to ensure that the fats in the oil are fully pushed into reacting and are converted to esters. If the fats are not all converted to esters or the oil is no good due to water, high free fatty acids, and dirty, you get soap. Soap forms an emulsion with the methanol and oil. In addition, an emulsion will occur if water is present. Its important to use dry and clean ingredients to avoid waste and frustration. However, water is okay to wash the fuel after biodiesel conversion and removal of the glycerol. Glycerol or glycerin and methyl esters are the two major products created after the reaction is complete. Gravity is used to separate the phases into two products because they have different densities. Glycerol forms in a phase at the bottom of the mix, whereas the methyl esters (biodiesel) float to the top. Glycerol is the denser of the two products. Glycerin has a density of 10 lb/gal, whereas methyl esters have a density of 7.3 lb/gal. The
glycerin then is drawn off the bottom of the tank. This can be sold as crude glycerol, which can be used in literally hundreds of products.
Safety Note: These are dangerous and poisonous chemicals. Common sense must be used. You are responsible for your actions and the safety of yourself and everyone and everything around you. Methanol is a poison that can be absorbed through your skin or by inhalation or consumption,
and it can cause blindness and death. In addition, methanol is flammable, so no open flames or smoking.Moreover, cartridge respirators do not work with methanol, so be careful. Also, both sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide are poisonous, can burn the skin, and can cause blindness. Do not inhale any vapors! Protection A long-sleeve shirt, full shoes, and trousers are recommended. Wear chemical-proof gloves, an apron, and eye protection such as goggles or a full-face shield. Always
have running water available to wash away spills. Pay Attention You must find an area (preferable outside) where it is safe to make the biodiesel away from children and pets.
4 cups/1 liter of new, unused or clean, used cooking oil If using odium hydroxide (NaOH, caustic soda), 1 teaspoon If using potassium hydroxide (KOH, caustic potash), 2 teaspoons Methanol, at least 1 cup (250 ml) Methanol
Tip: Methanol is available in 12-oz (350-ml) plastic bottles as an gasoline antifreeze and water remover. If you are not sure what you’ve found, look on the back of the bottle for the contents and warnings. It should say “methyl alcohol (methanol).”
Lye is an everyday drain cleaner, but it must be pure. In many states, however, you can no longer
get simple drain cleaner because of its use in illegal meth labs. Thus it’s best to do an Internet search to find lye and get it online. Just type in the search bar “biodiesel supplies for the home brewer,” and
pick the vendor who you would like to buy it from (www.uthabiodiesel.com)
A 2-liter clean and dry plastic bottle in good shape A measuring cup that you won’t be reusing for cooking ever again A teaspoon to measure out the caustic A glass jar (1 cup or larger) with a
leak-free lid (This is used to mix the methanol and caustic, making your methoxide catalyst/reactant.) A funnel that fits loosely in the top of your 2-liter bottle so that air can escape when you fill it A
thermometer Gloves Safety glasses
Warning: Methoxide is a poison! Do not breath the vapors. Wear eye protection. Wash off any splashes or spills with fresh water. Do not mix the methoxide in a plastic bottle; use glass only.
Making the Methoxide Carefully pour 1 cup (or 250 ml) of methanol into the 2-cup glass jar with the lid you have set aside.
Methanol Tip: Start with the methanol at a little more than room temp. Do this by placing the unopened container in some luke warm (not hot) tap water. Always dry the bottle off well so as to keep water out of your ingredients (which will make soap)
Caution: Never pour methanol on top of the caustic. This can result in a violent reaction and is
dangerous. Always add the caustic to the methanol slowly. Just empty the caustic from your teaspoon slightly above the opening of your mixing jar.
Important: If you are using sodium hydroxide (recommended), you’ll use 1 full teaspoon. If you are using potassium hydroxide, you’ll use 2 full teaspoons. The caustic and methanol do not mix readily, so take your time and don’t get to excited. Remember, avoid the vapors!
Warning: Cartridge respirators do not work with methanol! As you mix the caustic into your methanol jar, remember to empty the caustic from your teaspoon just slightly above the opening of your mixing jar.
Place the lid tightly on the jar so it won’t leak, and then swirl/stir the contents. Notice that the temperature of the mix will increase slightly. This is normal. To make sure that the caustic is completely dissolved, continue mixing it for up to 10 minutes or more. Once the caustic is
dissolved, set the jar aside with the lid still tightly closed to keep vapors in and moisture out Oil Preparation Take 4 cups (or 1 liter) of new or very clean oil and heat to at least 130°F (55°C). If you heat the oil any warmer than this, you will boil off your methanol in your methoxide when you add it to the warm oil. Caution: Boiling methanol is not a good thing! Making the Biodiesel Take your 2-liter bottle and carefully use your funnel to pour the 4 cups (1 liter) of oil into it.
Get the jar of methoxide you have just made, and pour it into the same 2-liter bottle with the oil. (It’s okay to use the same funnel you used to add the warm oil with.) Screw the cap tightly on the 2-liter bottle. Then shake it well for a few seconds. Around 40–50 good shakes is adequate. Set the bottle to the side when finished. Separation Within an hour, you should see a layer forming in the bottom of the plastic bottle. Now pour off the top 90 percent of the bottle, and that should be your biodiesel. Be careful not to get the glycerol layer caught in your biodiesel as you pour it off. It is better to leave some biodiesel in the glycerol than to have glycerol in the biodiesel (we can still make things with the glycerol that has biodiesel in it). We don’t want glycerol in the biodiesel because it adds little energy value to the fuel and can cause a toxic gas if it is not burned completely. Store the biodiesel in another clean 2-liter plastic bottle.
The Tikki Torch Fuel
This is easy. Any wick-style torch can use and work very well with your biodiesel fuel. If you want to chase bugs away, go to health or hobby stores to find “essential” oils from plants such as cedar, lemon grass, rosemary, chamomile, citronella, and eucalyptus, which will work the best for bugs. It will take a good teaspoon per cup to ward off the bugs. You can mix the oils in any combination to making your own fragrance. Be reserved a little; the smells can be a little overwhelming the oil is burned.