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How To Prepare Used Cooking Oil For Biodiesel

How To Prepare Used Cooking Oil For Biodiesel

Follow these simple steps and learn how you can save yourself some money, yard work and the environment. An educational video that explains how to prepare used cooking oil for biodiesel.

Step 1: You Will Need

  • Used cooking oil
  • Filter
  • Collection barrel
  • Biodiesel processor
  • Tank thermometer

Step 2: Collect Your Oil

You can spend the extra money and buy new cooking oil or you can find a restaurant and ask them if you can take their used cooking oil off their hands. Used cooking oil will have a darker color to it and will most likely have chunks of your favorite fried foods floating around. You will need to get rid of these before making biodiesel homebrew.

Step 3: Chunk Removal

Filtering your used cooking oil will eliminate the chunks of food and other particles before your begin your biodiesel homebrew process. Larger chunks can contain water and can mess up your biodiesel reaction. Smaller suspended particles should also be allowed to settle so they doesn't attach to your heating element and muck up your processor.

As you pour out your used cooking oil let it completely run through the filter. The filter doesn't need to be too fine. A paint strainer or window screen will adequately remove the particles that are large enough to affect the biodiesel reaction. You will notice large chunks of fried mystery food collecting in the filter. This filtration process can be fairly quick, but you can let the filtered biodiesel settle anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days to let the smaller particles settle out. Once settling is complete, begin transferring your used cooking oil to the reaction tank on your processor.

Step 4: Tank Transfer

Take the hose that connects the collection barrel to the reaction tank on your biodiesel compressor and connect it to the pump. Open up the valve on the reaction tank and open the valve on the bottom of the collection barrel. To activate the transfer, simply turn on the pump on your processor.

You will notice the dark, used cooking oil traveling out of the bottom of the collection barrel, through the pump, through the processor and up into the hose that empties into the reaction tank.

Step 5: The Heat Is On

As your cooking oil makes it's way into the reaction tank, you need to heat up the oil to about 120 or 130 degrees Fahrenheit. During the heating process, the pump on your compressor will circulate the oil. Circulating and heating the oil distributes the heat and prevents the oil from getting too hot right near the heating element. This heating and circulation process will take approximately one to four hours, depending on how much oil you are heating, the initial temperature of the oil, the outside air temperature, insulation on the processor and how powerful your heating element.