Biodiesel Homebrewing Standpipe Wash Tank
by Maria "Mark" Alovert of Local B100
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This system was invented by Sean Parks of Davis Ca and improved on by El Jefe de Biosmell.
article copyright 2003, 2005 by Maria 'Mark' Alovert / Biodiesel Homebrew Guide
This design allows you to build tanks out of old 55-gallon drums very cheaply without needing to find a conical-bottom or dome-bottom tank. It has two valves- one valve drains water, and the other drains from a higher level- draining only biodiesel when you're finished washing. I prefer this tank design over a conical bottomdraining tank- with this one I can save my last wash water for reuse and to just drain the clean biodiesel from above it.
The tank is a closed-head drum, turned upside down so the bungs face downwards, with the former bottom (no-bung) end cut open. A sawzall or a jigsaw works perfectly for this. You really need a metal drum for this, but people have figured out a few ways to do the same thing with plastic drums also.
To the left is the tank, with a plywood cover on it, so as to contain any methanol fumes that are present in the beginning of washing.
Clear plastic tubes on the two drain valves are very important to allow you to see what you're draining- clear PVC eventually becomes milky and you should replace the tubes with new ones at that point.
* 55-gallon or 30-gallon closed head drum (the type
without a removable lid)
[Total length of H and I should be 1/4 the length of your wash tank- if you use 1/4 water to 3/4 biodiesel when you wash]
* Teflon pipe thread tape or teflon paste. Tools needed: one Pipe wrench, one pair of large channelock pliers or crescent wrench, and a flathead screwdriver for hose clamps.
drain: The 2 bung gets a bushing threaded into it, and this receives a
valve assembly for draining wash water. When you need to change your wash water
you drain it using this valve. You stop draining when either emulsion or intermixed
biodiesel/water starts coming out of the clear tube. You probably wont
be able to drain every last bit of water out of the flat-bottom tank..
Thread pipe nipple B into the 3/4 bung as far as it will go. Threads should protrude inside the tank about 1/4 inch. Assemble coupling I and standpipe H together, then climb inside the tank with it and screw the assembly onto the short protruding threads. The rest of the plumbing looks just like the lower drain. You may want to label which drain is the standpipe to avoid confusion. I use fullsize two milk crates stacked together as the stand, and strap the tank to the wall using heavyduty webbing or water heater strapping.
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