Is This The Winter To Set Up A Biodiesel Distillation Tank?

If you're heartened by the prospect of low heating oil prices this fall and winter, you may not be giving much thought to alternate heating methods — after all, "if it ain't broke," what's the point of changing your system? However, it's important not to become complacent when it comes to heating prices, as what goes down will often go back up; in fact, the mild temperatures predicted for much of the U.S. this winter and spring can make this a prime opportunity for setting up a biodiesel distillation tank to supply your own homemade heating oil. Read on to learn more about setting up the equipment needed to create biodiesel heating fuel.

How is biodiesel created?

Biodiesel is a relatively simple fuel created from animal or vegetable fats in lieu of crude or other environmentally mined oils. Biodiesel is commonly made from corn or soybean oil, but can also be generated from filtered restaurant waste grease.

To make your own biodiesel, you'll need a couple of heavy duty plastic storage tanks or barrels along with the tubing necessary to transmit filtered biodiesel and various solvents into each tank. Your waste oil will begin in one tank, where it will be filtered through a screen and combined with a solvent (like methanol) that isolates the fatty molecules from the glycerin ones. Once this reaction is complete, you'll need only to drain off the excess glycerin from the second tank and your remaining liquid will be pure biodiesel. You can then transfer it to a separate storage tank or leave it there until you need it.

Will you need to purchase additional equipment to convert your heating oil furnace? 

One of the major advantages of biodiesel is its eco-friendliness and chemical versatility. You shouldn't need to make any substantive changes to your current oil burning furnace in order to use biodiesel, although you'll want to start slowly by mixing in a small amount of biodiesel with your heating fuel so you can monitor for any problems. As time goes by, you'll be able to gradually increase the amount of biodiesel in your heating oil until you find the mix ratio to which your furnace is best suited.

Biodiesel can also be more drying to rubber than regular heating oil, so you'll want to keep a close eye on rubber seals and other components that might become damaged with increased exposure over time. For more information, contact a professional in your area or visit a website like