Have you been thinking of getting into Biodiesel? Maybe on a slightly larger scale that just homebrewing? Then you’ll love this awesome story about Dayna LeDuc.
Dayna lives in Creston, British Columbia, Canada. A few years back while working in the oil fields in Canada he noticed that there was a lot of damage going done to the environment by the oil drilling process and wanted to do something different that would truly make a positive impact on the environment. He’d heard about the positive environmental effects of Biodiesel and thought it sounded like something he’d like to get involved with.
A short time after that he and his wife were involved in a near fatal auto accident that almost took both of their lives. The accident created in him an even stronger desire to make a difference in the world and so began Dayna’s adventure into Biodiesel. He began researching how to make Biodiesel and as he did he thought that it would be an ideal way to make a difference plus it looked like it would be a lot of fun too!
Dayna didn’t just want to make small batches though, he wanted to go bigger and make Biodiesel that could not only be used by himself (which he though was way cool!), but he wanted to be able to provide Biodiesel to others as well–he wanted to be able to sell it.
To start, Dayna began designing out a space where he’d be able to collect oil, produce Biodiesel, and then be able to sell it. The start of this was getting a place to do everything, so he designed a 14′ x 24′ self-contained brewing shed and built it.
Dayna is also the sort of guy that if you’re going to do something, you may as well do it the correct way, so he outfitted the brewing shed with all of the safety features needed, the correct power and water hookups, enough space to move everything around, and then got to work.
Check out some of the awesome things it includes!
There’s powered vents on either side of the shed to help circulate fresh air through the whole shed at any time. They’re powered by a heavy duty explosion proof motor too! When powered on, it can cycle the air in the shed in under 5 seconds (yep! That fast!) Kiss any nasty smells goodbye! It easily can remove any noxious fumes too! Dayna say’s when they kick on they’re incredible! What’s even cooler is that the vent fans can be activated outside the building which means he can completely clear the air before he even steps foot inside. How’s that for cool!
He also didn’t mess around with power either. The shed has plenty of high amp power ran to it as well. While the power is probably much more than he needs at the current time, he built in some growth to it so that he wouldn’t have to come back and modify it later on. There’s power outlets both inside and outside the shop which lets him power pumps and other electrical equipment easily while outside.
The shed is even set up so that he can keep the methanol barrels outside and pull it into the shop through pumps.
Inside the shop he set up a really nice workbench area so that he can do all of his testing on the oil and biodiesel. Cabinets above the work area keep everything nice and organized and out of the way.
On the other side of the shop is the “business” end of things.
To bring oil into the shop, he has a heavy duty oil transfer pump plumbed up to tubing that can either draw oil from outside the shop or move it around inside the shop as well. It’s first stop is into the oil settling and filtering.
Dayna also has a 1000 gallon tank buried underground for excess storage as well. That way he can keep bringing in the oil as his customers generate it without running out of room in the brewing shop.
After the oil settles in the settling tanks in the shed and as much crud is removed the oil can go into a filtering drying barrel that’s close by. With the heat on and oil circulating, and with the air vent fans going he can dry a batch of oil extremely fast!
In this shot he’s just finished up another awesome batch of Biodiesel!
He even has a great sink area with a cabinet above it for cleaning up as batches finish up.
To keep things warm in the shop, he has an oil fired furnace that can burn on–yep, you guessed it, waste vegetable oil! Yep! This shop is awesome!
As of this writing (May 15, 2018), Dayna’s made about 1000 gallons of Biodiesel with no plans of slowing down. He has several restaurants he’s collecting oil from and is selling the Biodiesel he makes to customers in his area.
As he finishes his Biodiesel, it gets pumped to his external elevated storage tank that can gravity feed fuel into vehicles and containers.
To keep things continually environmentally friendly he even has a sweet way to dispose of his glycerin too! He mixes it in a 1 to 1 ratio with water and sprays it down on his dirt road as a dust suppressant. He say’s it works extremely well! Check out how nice it looks!
I had a chance to ask Dayna a few questions about his setup and some of the difficult hurdles he had to overcome as well as what he’d do different.
By far he said the most difficult part was the legalization part. He did everything by the book. Everything about his shed is to code too. He said there were multiple hoops he had to jump through to get it all set up to become legal.
Things he’d change:
He said he’d probably build it bigger (sound familiar?) As he grows he’ll eventually outgrow the space and move into an industrial building, but for now this gives him a great starting point to “get his feet wet” with making Biodiesel and the setup is just plan awesome!
Grow, grow, grow! Continue to make more Biodiesel, expand the operation, and hopefully have to move into a bigger space one day.
Things He Enjoys The Most:
Knowing that if the economy went South, he could still provide fuel for his trucks and family. There’s just something to be said for being able to make your own fuel and the independence that goes with it.
So, how good are his batches? Well, check out this 3/27 test! A perfect pass! And if it doesn’t, he reprocesses too..but that’s been extremely rare as he’s very analytical with each batch and aims to get it as well reacted as possible on the first go around.
At the rate Dayna’s going, he may need to move into a bigger space sooner or later too! He’s doing great!
So, if you’re thinking of getting into Biodiesel, know that it’s definitely possible. Even on a small scale!