Recently one of our awesome customers, Erin from Wisconsin, wrote a short humorous story called Bio-Wars based around the Biodiesel reaction as seen from the eyes of a Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) molecule.
We read through the story and absolutely loved it! Erin has been kind enough to let us share it with you on our blog! So, grab some popcorn, queue the Star Wars Theme Song, and sit back and enjoy this awesome tale of the mighty KOH molecule!
A long time ago, in a strange liquid far, far away, is where this strange tale began. I’m a lone KOH knight named Potash the chosen one that will lead the flakes to the veggie-oil galaxy. One atom away from the Potassium?Oxygen?Hydrogen? universe. I know it’s a mouthful, so I and my elemental flakes all around me, call this world KOH, for short. One day lounging in my beaker, enjoying the cloudy dust air above; I was whisked off to a strange, strange place.
All at once, the beaker is flying up, up and away from my perch on the shelf, and there I am falling. Helpless and along for the ride I wait… SPLASH! What is this strange substance I ask myself? It is clear, relatively odorless, and I can’t taste anything and I’m getting this sudden state of drunkenness. In a booming voice I hear; “my name is METHANOL, and I’m using my 99.9% purity to manipulate you!” Now I know that I’m not at KOH anymore I think to myself, shuttering with fear. “My name is Potash, what is it you want from me?” “I want your element young KOH Knight, together we can take on Jaba and the Free Fatty Acids before he turns this whole universe into soap.”
“How can I be of service Methanol, I’m just a knight?” “Well young KOH Knight, I’m going to shake this vessel violently and your flaky friends and I will become Methoxide. With our carefully measured dangerous mixture, we can take on Jaba and ensure our survival to fuel the future.” Knowing I can’t get back home because of my drunken stupor Methanol has put on me, I reluctantly accept Methanol’s request. “Hold on to your flakes young Potash while I shake the vessel,” Methanol says with a sinister voice.
WEEEE, up, down, side to side over and under, twisting and turning, this is the most exhilarating experience of my long life. Once all the splishing, splashing and sloshing was done, I found myself floating around, bouncing into the walls of Methanol’s vessel. Methanol is no longer this large scary substance; we are one. I can feel new powers surging throughout my particles. “You did well young Potash, are you ready to take on Jaba?” Methanol says. With my newfound powers and attitude, I tell my new friend that I’m ready.
“What is that strange thing trying to dock onto our vessel?” “That Potash, is the hose called “the worm hole” that will take us to our nemesis’, Jaba and the Free Fatty Acids” thunders Methanol. Ready for action the lever is pulled, and we swoosh through an entrancing tube and run into a warm, thick, smelly substance. What is this place. Methanol says to me, “this young Potash, is the veggie-oil universe, your destiny.” In the thick liquid ahead, I see these strange looking things Methanol refers to as a “carbon atom chain attached to a glycerin backbone”. Floating around next to them are the rogue chains of Jaba’s Free Fatty Acids that have detached themselves from the sovereign glycerin chain.
Methanol explains to me that with precise hits to their chains, we can convert the gangs of glycerin chains to a Methyl ester. Methanol warned me in his vessel that if the molecules from the H?O galaxy interfere with our war on the Free Fatty Acid gang, that all hope will be lost. The Free Fatty Acids are capable of multiplying and consuming our catalyst mixture, thus transforming us into soap for eternity. After blending and mixing into the veggie-oil, the presence of the rogue H?O soldiers are nowhere to be found.
Upon this discovery, we circulate the veggie-oil universe with fury, gobbling up and destroying as many of glycerin chains as possible. Once the oil settles, our atmosphere is vastly different! It is a strange amber substance with a peculiar, yet familiar smell. “What is this strange substance we are in, and what are these things attached to us, inquires Potash. “We are carbon atoms, to ensure our survival we let you hop onto our chain.” “What is that dark gooey substance below us,” I asked the atom? “That is our buddy glycerin, whom we dropped our allegiance with to join your force. We saw what you guys did to Jaba and the chain gang and feared for our survival.”
Upon completion of this dangerous mission, the young knight Potash, was forever known to the flakes of the planet KOH as Master Potash. The Veggie-Oil Universe has been saved, we have made new alliances with the atoms, and Master Potash takes a long water bath slumber in the amber liquid of the Veggie-Oil. After his nice warm bath, Master Potash enjoys his trip round and round in the worm holes of the Veggie-Oil Universe to dry. Young Potash has transformed this smelly goo into a usable green fuel that will power the vehicles of the future, that will forever be known as the Biodiesel Nebula.
Rickdatech. Basic Biodiesel Chemistry. Make-biodiesel.org. 2008. Web. 25 March 2012
Banas, Timothy. FACTS ABOUT POTASSIUM HYDROXIDE. livestrong.com. 14 June 2011. Web. 25 March 2012
U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY OFFICE OF MOBILE SOURCES. Methanol Basics. EPA 400-F-92-009. August 1994. Print. 25 March 2012
Erin lives in Richland Center, Wisconsin and makes Biodiesel from waste vegetable oil in an Appleseed Style Biodiesel processor!