Thursday, January 04, 2007

Biodiesel - Wash n Dry Your Fuel the Easy Way

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By now you know all too well that to get the best results and to avoid any possibility of reducing the efficiency of your fuel you need to wash your raw biodiesel.

Now this can be done any number of ways from a fancy mist washing system, to “hand washing” to using an aquarium airstone to achieve the desired result. All the while ever conscious of the dangers that your neo fuel could turn into soap at any second.

All of these processes however result in some water being left in your biodiesel fuel which again raises the spectre or reduced performance and possible long term corrosion issues inside your fuel delivery system.

As a result many gurus in the field of biodiesel production maintain that you should “dry” your fuel for a perfect end product – and I agree. However it is yet another step to perform and many people are tempted to miss this step altogether, many don’t even wash their fuel let alone dry it!

Fortunately there is another way – a much, much easier way to get clean, dry fuel (dry-clean?) The magic ingredient you need is Magnasol.

Magnesol, is probably best described as an “adsorbent filter aid” and it ensures the quality of your biodiesel by removing any contaminants within methyl esters and that includes water. In fact Magnasol could prove to be the cure all for cleaning and clarifying your fuel to produce a consistently high quality, clean biodiesel fuel at home.

How it Works
Magnasol increases “the oxidative stability of biodiesel” and you can use it either in conjunction with, or more importantly as a replacement for your water-wash treatment at the end of your biodiesel production process.

After the reaction with methoxide that causes the glycerin separation process, your raw biodsiesel contains contaminants that could certainly be detrimental to the quality of your fuel and must be removed before you use it – for best and problem free results. Normally you would do this by water-washing the biodiesel. However, with Magnesol, the water-wash step can be removed, and so can the “liquid separation” and “drying” of your biodiesel.

It can also replace other methods of removing color from biodiesel, such as bleaching if you bother to do such a thing.Magnesol has a high affinity for methanol and water, so it will leach every last bit of these from your fuel.

Purification with Magnesol can also increase the stability of biodiesel which is increasingly important, as home and industrial manufacturers move towards using or providing biodiesel fuel ever more widely.

How to Use Magnasol
In a standard biodiesel production process, you mix Magnesol (supplied as a fine white powder) with your reacted but unwashed biodiesel in your reaction tank. Mix it for around 5 or 10 minutes after glycerin separation and after any methanol removal.

Magic Magnasol (magnesium silicate) has what is called a “strong affinity for polar compounds” which means that it naturally bonds to polar compounds like excess methanol, free glycerin, mono and di-glycerides, metal contaminants, free fatty acids and soap. These materials can then removed from the process through simple filtration filtration e.g. pump your finished fuel through a cloth or fuel filter.

N.B. Glycerin is itself a polar molecule, and as such is susceptible to the adsorptive abilities of Magnasol. That’s why Magnesol is added to the process after the glycerin separation has taken place.

When using Magnesol, you are left with a potentially useful “filter cake” rather than potentially dirty waste to dispose of. This filter cake could potentially be used as a clean animal feed supplement, a form of biomass fuel, fertilizer or compost.

For more details see the BECON study in the Resources section at

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