Met-Chohm-Phuu (Appleseed) Biodiesel in Thailand

Creating Appleseed Biodiesel reactors in Thailand in rural areas for farmers with the PDA.... stories from a farang in Krabi... biodiesel back home in NC... and whatever else needs to be told online in my blog....

July 11, 2006

Burlington Biodiesel at TS Designs

I visited one last biodiesel production Co-op in the Triangle before heading off to Thailand; in May I visited Eric Henry, President of TS Designs and biodiesel/SVO enthusiast. One a side note, my girlfriend Farrah Sangsookwow came along with me and bought some TS Designs T-shirts; she says they’re the comfiest and most broken-in-new-shirts she’s ever had. We also met Sustainable Jack- alternative fuel guru who teaches many classes at App State on related topics; two really great guys with lots of energy and interest in biofuels.

Probably the most innovative design feature of TS Design’s reactor is the pretreatment of their oil- waste vegetable oil is often full of chunky food particles and water– both of these things have to be removed before making biodiesel. So how do they do it? With a big pile of mulch. The oil is pumped into holding tanks underneath a pile of mulch. The mulch has air pumped into it, which activates the bacteria to make compost, and also generate lots of heat. Therefore, the oil inside the barrels in the pile is heated up to 140 degrees, so most of the water evaporates out over a period of a few weeks and you’re left with some nice oil for the rest of the process. They also get some nice compost every couple months. Ingenious idea for using mother nature as a heater.

The rest of the process TS Designs uses is very similar to the HKF biodiesel reactor; this makes sense because HKF uses TS Design’s old reactor. Only a few things are different. First, the methoxide is pumped directly into the main reactor tank without going through the pump first; a hole at the top of the tank allows the methoxide to come pouring through via gravity. Second, the oil is heated for the reaction to 110ºF, thus reducing the reaction time and making more methyl ester and less di and tri glycerides (aka a more complete reaction). Finally, Mangesol is used for the wash process instead of a water wash. Also, acetic acid is added to the cleaned biodiesel to remove more soaps (which precipitate out) and also stabilize the pH. All in all, a whole batch can me made in around 24 hours, so speedy batches are possible. The biodiesel is then pumped through a 2um water block filter that Eric picked up on eBay, a bit overkill but surely not a bad thing.

All in all Eric and guys at Burlington Biodiesel had their biodiesel production down to a science. They were quick, effective, and highly enthusiastic. Over the summer Sustainable Jack is teaching courses on how to make biofuels and other renewable energies. He also runs a radio show every Wednesday at 10 AM on WCOM 102.9, the local Carrboro radio station, called the Home Power Hour. Myself, Farrah, and a good friend of ours Brian Hunt were on the show in May talking about the upcoming biodiesel project in May. For a podcast, click here Also, for more info on TS Designs, click here and Burlington Biodiesel’s Coop page is here I wanted to give a big thanks to Eric Henry and Sustainable Jack for taking time out of your busy days to show us around, myself and my friends really enjoyed it.


Post a Comment

<< Home