Customer Spotlight: Semi-Trailer Biodiesel Production Setup

Check out this sweet Biodiesel reactor setup by one of our awesome customers on a grass seed farm in Oregon! He has the ability to completely power his whole farm with the fuel he makes in this awesome setup!

He started off by purchasing a used semi trailer. The reason? They’re inexpensive, easy to move around should he need to find a new brewing location, easy to secure, and plenty of room inside to set up shop!
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Inside he set up everything he’d need to produce Biodiesel!
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He even has a really well stocked testing lab!
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Power is supplied by a RV 50 amp plug in his barn. He wired a RV power cord to a heavy duty breaker box with two 20 amp breakers. The whole trailer has been wired for power on both sides making it extremely easy for him to connect pumps or heaters anywhere they’re needed.
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Oil starts out settling in his large, open barn in cone bottom settling tanks with valves coming out the side so as not to pull from the bottom of the tank.
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Once it’s settled, it’s transferred over to the semi trailer and can be loaded into his drying tank to ensure it’s free of any water. He built his drying tank after the style of our Oil/Biodiesel Drying Tank. These drying tanks utilize our Dry Pro nozzle and work extremely well at drying the oil out so that it’s moisture free once it’s ready to be processed.
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Once the oil is dry, it’s transferred into his insulated Biodiesel processor to be reacted into Biodiesel.
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The processor is an old Fuelmeister cone bottom tank that he’s modified to include a plastic rated heat band and insulation to keep the heat in the tank while reacting Biodiesel.
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Plumbing on the processor is fairly straight forward. Hoses, valves and a heavy duty processor pump to move everything around with.
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One cool addition he added was a secondary containment tank underneath the processor to catch any spills that may occur.
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The wash tank is an old Fuelmeister expansion tank that works really well for washing the processed Biodiesel in!
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Washing is performed using a modified Fuemeister Washing Lid with an integrated float.
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Water for the wash tank is piped into the trailer through a water line that gets filtered and then transferred via piping up to the Biodiesel wash tank area.
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The water in line is then connected to the washing lid which is placed on top of the wash tank and washing can begin!
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After each wash, the wash water is then transferred through a water line out of the trailer and into a used water holding tank in the barn that can then be used on the farm for secondary water purposes.
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Here’s what Mike had to say about the cool things he’s doing with the wash water, “I use a tote to store my used and separated wash water to re-use on my fields. I’m able to use it on my fields because I react by Biodiesel with Potassium Hydroxide. Because biodiesel wash water is somewhat alkaline, I am able to use it to manipulate the acidity of my soil. Typically, an alkaline material such as Lime, is used as the best way to bring acidic soil back towards neutral for optimum plant growth and soil health, so the alkaline wash water is a perfect alternative! I have an area in one of my fields that I’d used the wash water on that I had sampled and tested by a professional lab two years ago. The results showed a nitrogen return of 18%. That is HUGE!!! One of the most exciting parts of processing biodiesel is that NOTHING goes to waste! The glycerin can be re-used. The wash water can be re-used. And of course, the raw oil you start with, is being RE-USED! That is COOL!”

Once the Biodiesel has been processed and washed, it’s transferred over to another drying tank built just for drying his Biodiesel. It follows the same design as his oil drying tank and also uses a Dry Pro nozzle to get the Biodiesel dry in a hurry!
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Here you can see the drying tank in action! The now washed Biodiesel is heated with one of our 1200 Watt Band Heater and then is pumped from the bottom of the tank through our 1/2 HP fuel transfer pump. The heated Biodiesel is then sprayed through one of our Dry Pro drying nozzles and the drying action begins! The Dry Pro Nozzle and a 1/2 HP pump to spread the Biodiesel out in a great fan like pattern that makes drying a cinch! Check it out!
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He’s found it helpful to put one of our poly drum filters on top of the tank while the Biodiesel circulates. This keeps the fuel from splashing out of the drying tank to a minimum while still allowing the water to evaporate through the mesh liner.
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Here the Biodiesel is all dry and ready to be moved to the next step.
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The drying tank is then moved near the back of the trailer. A transfer hose is placed inside the barrel and the processed, washed, and dried Biodiesel is transferred into the onboard fuel storage tanks.
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The tanks consist of two 275 gallon totes stacked on top of each other.
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Transfer hoses connect the top & bottom tanks making it an ideal way to store over 500 gallons of finished, ready to use Biodiesel!
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Then, when the Biodiesel is ready to be used, it can be filtered through a Golden Rod Biodiesel Fuel Filter.
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With this system set up, Mike’s been able to process his oil into Biodiesel very smoothly! Having everything in one spot also makes for a really nice place to make Biodiesel. When the processing is done for the day, the trailer door can be pulled down and locked keeping everything nice & secure!

Here’s a picture of some of the great looking Biodiesel it produces!
Biodiesel produced from semi trailer system

As to how much fuel he can process using this awesome setup, Mike said, “I plan on processing 1500 to 2000 galloons this summer to supplement my fuel cost on my farm operation. In todays market, 2000 gallons at $4.00 gallon = $8,000. dollars. vs. 2000 gallons at .70 gallon “my cost” = $1,400 dollars. That is a savings of $6,600

We think it’s one of the cleanest, well laid out systems we’ve seen! We’re sure he’ll be getting several years of great service out of this simple yet effective Biodiesel processing setup all the while saving money on his fuel bills!

So, with all the great Biodiesel being made, we figured you’d enjoy seeing what lucky diesels will have a chance to use it! All of these tractors are diesel powered which means all of them can easily burn the Biodiesel that Mike makes!
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Talk about a great way to save on fuel costs! We think it’s awesome!
Got a cool Biodiesel story? Send it our way!

About Utah Biodiesel Supply

Utah Biodiesel Supply is an industry leader in offering innovative ways to empower our customers to produce Biodiesel. From free online instructional videos on how to get started making this great renewable fuel to promotional items to help our customers proclaim their energy independence, Utah Biodiesel Supply has it covered. With the widest selection available of Biodiesel equipment, supplies, and promotional items, you're sure to learn something new about Biodiesel every time you visit.

One comment on “Customer Spotlight: Semi-Trailer Biodiesel Production Setup

  1. Pingback: Our Customers Rock!! | Utah Biodiesel Supply Blog

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