How safe is the Biobot?

One of the key design parameters for the Biobot is safety.

All of the electrical fittings including the pump are mounted at the very bottom of the processor below the oil sump and shrouded in a metal casement. This design eliminates any chance of any electrical spark occurring near or around the reaction vessel or catalyst mix tank. The input supply and all switches are sealed weatherised industrial grade units.

The Biobot has a specially designed catalyst mix system, incorporating a HDPE mix tank which is attached to the side of the processor. Chemicals are introduced in a safe closed method. There are no tipping hazardous chemicals precariously into hot oil near any direct heating elements!

For home or small business production, the biobot`s 75 litre batch requires a small and manageable amount of methanol around 13-15 litres at one time. This eliminates the need to handle or store large quantities of methanol.

As the oil is heated in a separate oil sump, using indirect thermostatically controlled heat plates, there is no opportunity to overheat the oil or pour any flammable liquids over a direct heat source.

The plastic conical vessel within the biobot is used for the mixing, reaction and storage of bio diesel only. We consider using heating elements in a plastic vessel is potentially un-safe and should be avoided. If the heating element were to overheat, the plastic vessel could melt or ignite the methanol.

During the processing and storage of bio diesel, the oil sump can also act as a safety bund.

Can I wrongly set the controls on the Biobot?

No, the biobot has a unique single lever operation making the process simple and error free.

What type of oil can I use?

You will of course need new or used cooking oil. It is best to use liquid oil as apposed to some solid cooking oil products. You should avoid using palm oil.

If the oil you obtain is very dirty, after the oil is heated in the oil sump, it is recommended to drain off any water which has separated in the heating process. There is a sump tap on the bottom of the Biobot which can be used to drain off the water.

You will see a distinct difference between the water and oil. When draining the water, you will see a change in colour and consistency when you have drained it all off. The light water colour will change to a much darker thicker liquid which is the oil now de-watered.

You should put enough oil in the sump to allow for the water to be drained off and still have a full 75 litres left to fill the conical vessel.

What chemicals do I need to make bio diesel?

It is possible to mix methanol with caustic soda pearl flakes or potassium hydrodroxide. In the table provided, we list the quantities for either chemical to be used. However, we recommend using Methanol and Methylate to make the catalyst. Methylate is in liquid form, made from methanol and sodium hydroxide. From the titration table provided, you simply read off the quantity of methylate to add in the mix tank.

How much Methanol and Methylate do I use to make a 75 litre batch of bio diesel?

You would normally add around 20% methanol to make the catalyst.

As we recommend the use of methylate liquid to add to the methanol for the catalyst, this will reduce the volume of methanol needed per batch. As a guide only, you would normally add around 13-15 litres of methanol and 1 to 2 litres of methylate. The exact quantities would vary according to the titration result. The cleaner the oil, the less methylate. The dirtier the oil, the more methylate you will need to add.

Why is it necessary to filter the raw bio diesel?

Once the bio diesel has reacted and the glycerol has been drained off, the bio might appear clear enough to use. It will however still contain small amounts of un-reacted oil, methanol and soap. Cycling the raw bio diesel through the in-built resin filter for 4 to 6 hours will remove all remaining un-wanted elements, leaving a crystal clear product ready for testing.

As a final level of filtering, we have also built-in a 10 micron bottle filter which is in the fuel dispensing line before the nozzle dispenser. This filter will take out any remaining water from the process.

How long will the filter resin last?

Our resin filter will hold over 2kg of resin, this is double the amount other processors use in their process. The life of the resin will of course depend on the quality of the feedstock used, but as an indication, we would expect the resin to treat between 2000 to 3000 litres.

How do I test the bio diesel I have made?

There are a number of different tests which can be done to check the quality of bio diesel. More information on the tests is covered in the bio diesel training course which is available through the Company- ask for more details.

An example of a quick test which can be done is a Miscibility test. This is a very effective way to test for the presence of contaminants. Taking a clean tumbler, fill a third with tap water and third with filtered bio diesel. Gently, swirl the tumbler around to mix both substances, note if there is any frothing or foamy layer forming. Once settled, the water should settle clearly at the bottom and the oil should settle on top. A good bio diesel batch will not have a layer of white between oil and water- this would be soap. If this is seen, more filtering would be required to remove this.

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