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....

August 26, 2006

Success and a Wrap-Up!

The Completed Reactor a.k.a. "My Baby"

The reactor is complete. We piped the pieces, made the misting system, assembled the aeration pipes, and plugged in the prototype. After adding some alliteration, we decided to give it a try, the moment I’ve been waiting for for the last 6 months.

We ended up making two test batches of biodiesel, or a total of 140 liters. The first batch didn’t turn out as well as the second – that’s because we had to fix some major design issues of the reactor in order to make sure oil didn’t leak from the top of the reactor tank. Basically, the 1 HP pump shot oil all over the place; especially when the oil is heated to 50 C so it less viscous. We’d turn on the circulation pump and oil (and methoxide) sprayed onto the top and then leaked out of the sides, dripping down the reactor and splattering all over the place. We installed an elbow inside the tank to direct the oil down instead of sideways, and the problem was solved for the second batch.

The Reactor Version 2.0, with the Elbow Addition

The second batch created worked great – the added elbow and tightened hose barbs worked wonders. The elbow had one side effect positive side effect - it increased the temperature of the reactor, as the pump had to work much harder to shoot the oil into more oil that it did launching it through the air. While it may not be the best for the pump, it’s a great thing for the reaction because it keeps it nice and hot for the 80 minute reaction time. The resulting fuel was really clear even before we water washed the fuel; a good sign that we’ve got a good reactor with lots of circulation and mixing.

P'Meck and I Adding Methoxide into the Reactor

We also had a great time working with the PDA staff; and I also got an intense workout for my scanty vocabulary. We made the biodiesel and constructed the project hand in hand with the staff, to make sure that when I’m long gone from the center the biodiesel brew can still be flowing. There were three staff members who worked beside us the whole time: P’Sut, the resident Mr.-Fix-It, P’Meck, the pimping technician who had a girl on the phone at all times of the day, and P’Ohh, the chemistry expert. I also finished a big 20 pager-report, took lots of pictures, and enjoyed life in the Krabi countryside, far away from the bleeping horns of Bangkok.

The Infamous Som Thom Buu Blrahh and Other Delicious Foods

We also ate some great homemade Thai food – in the past I didn’t like the Southern style Gang Som curry, but now I can’t get enough of it! I got to know the lighter side of construction in Thailand when P’Sut couldn’t stop using flames for everything. We met some great friends that I feel really happy passing my biodiesel baby into the hands of – they are hardworking people striving to change things for the better.

So with this I conclude my work in the first year of the biodiesel project at Krabi. So much more needs to be done – further refining the fuel washing stages, simpler fuel filtering systems (continuous flow), forming a villager coop, and using even cheaper types of oils to make biodiesel. I hope that the PDA continues it with the passion that I saw put forth by everyone at Krabi.

The PDA Krabi Biodiesel Team

To everyone who’s helped me with this project, thanks, and a phatty Kawpkoon Krap.


Post a Comment

<< Home