Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hands-On Brewing Cheat Sheet

backyard biodieselThanks to everyone who came out to the Hands-On Brewing class last weekend in Palmer. The class was full, and there was a lot of stuff to go over. In a room full of beakers and graduated cylinders a new crop of biodiesel brewers tested Salmon oil, Mill and Feed's oil, and my personal supply of cherry-picked deep-fryer Canola oil. The layout of the room made the board hard to see, so I've put together the basic directions here for folks to remember:

Always wear safety equipment. Don't breath or touch this stuff. Biodiesel is nontoxic after you've washed the methanol and glycerine/lye out, not before.

For the reference solution:
  1. add 1000ml distilled water
  2. add 1 gram NaOH or KOH
For the titration:
  1. add 10 ml isopropyl alcohol
  2. add 4 drops phenolphthalein indicator solution
  3. "blank" the jar with a few drops -OH reference solution - swirl and add until the purple stays
  4. add 1 ml oil (be exact)
  5. measure 10 ml -OH reference solution - swirl and add until the purple stays.
  6. note how many ml -OH reference solution you used.
This will be the grams (Na or K)-OH added on top of the catalyst amount to strip the free fatty acids.

For the test batch:
  1. warm your oil to 135 degrees F. (methanol boils at 148F - don't overheat!)
  2. add 220ml methanol to methanol/catalyst jar
  3. add the catalyst - 5 grams NaOH or 8 grams KOH plus the stripping grams from the titration - to the methanol.
  4. swirl the methanol/catalyst mixture until it dissolves.
  5. add 1000ml warm oil to a 2 liter soda bottle.
  6. add methanol/catalyst solution to the soda bottle.
  7. shake for one minute, then shake one minute every 15 minutes for an hour.
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