One question people often ask us is how much a typical gallon of home brewed Biodiesel costs. It’s actually a fairly simple calculation to do as long as you know the costs of your time and materials.
First, let’s identify the costs you’ll need to track and then we’ll go into a really slick way of calculating it all together with a cool spreadsheet we made a few years back.
Methanol – Identify your cost per gallon
Catalyst – Identify how much per bag and per gram it costs you
Sulfuric Acid – If you use sulfuric, figure out your cost per milliliter
Electricity – Identify how many watts of electricity per batch your process consumes. Remember to track both the processor electricity and the washing electricity consumed. You can pick up a watt meter from a local hardware store or even online through Harbor Freight. Next, look at your utility bill and identify how much you’re paying per kilowatt.
Water – Identify how many gallons you go through per batch then look at your utility bill and identify how much water costs you per gallon. It’s usually extremely small.
Batch Size – Identify what your average batch size is in gallons
Usage Fee – If charged to use the equipment, identify the cost
Labor – Identify how many minutes of your time each batch requires
Rent – If you rent the building, identify how much your rent is per day
With these numbers in hand, you’re ready to calculate your cost per batch and cost per gallon.
We created a slick, little Excel spreadsheet that will let you enter all of these values and it’ll calculate the cost per gallon for you.
The spreadsheet can also help you calculate your cost savings per batch of Biodiesel versus the cost of diesel fuel. You can even add in the cost of all your equipment and identify how many batches and gallons of Biodiesel are required to reach your ROI (Return On Investment) made.
Click Here To Download the Excel Spreadsheet and get started!
(Spreadsheet was created in Microsoft Excel 2000)
We’ve been using this spreadsheet for years as a way to track our costs and enjoy seeing just how much money we’ve been able to save by making our own Biodiesel.
Dry Washing costs aren’t built into this spreadsheet, but are fairly easy to add. Just identify what your cost per gallon is with the dry washing technology you use runs and add it into the spreadsheet in the water section or insert a new row.
Things We’ve Noticed:
Methanol costs impact the cost per gallon quite a bit. Electricity is nearly negligible as is water costs. While KOH is usually higher priced than NaOH, the cost per gallon increase of one over the other is very small at the cost per gallon amount. While most people figure their time is free, it’s interesting to identify how much time is being consumed to make a batch and then put a value to that time. Kind of along the line of “whats your time worth to you”.
So, there you have it. A nice, simple way to calculate cost per gallon plus a few more tricks too! We’d love to hear what your cost per gallon is running. We find that we average between $0.75/gal up to $1.25/gallon depending on what our methanol costs are.