Drying Biodiesel: Final Step to the Finish Product
Washed biodiesel has a cloudy or hazy appearance for that reason; drying biodiesel has to be done. The appearance of the fuel indicates that micro-droplets of water are still present which can damage the engine. The oldest drying method is referred to as settling. This technique is completed when water settles to the floor of the tank.
You might wonder why you should wash your biodiesel. "Unwashed biodiesel contains impurities which can harm your engine." Biodiesel washing removes those impurities which will result to a safer fuel. Some chemicals, such as sodium hydroxide, are still present in your fuel might also cause it to flame up or explode. Soap can also be present which can clog the engine. Aside from these, washed biodiesel complies with the international specification standards.
Every technique for washing ends with drying biodiesel. The main purpose of this process is to expose the fuel to more air which will result to water evaporation. In simple ways, this can be done by leaving the fuel in an uncovered container. This will allow air exposure. However, the time allotted for such measures vary greatly depending on the amount and temperature of air circulating over the container.
Drying “washed biodiesel” can take up to a couple of hours while others reach up to weeks.
Another factor that adds up to the duration of the drying process is the clearness of the fuel. This is achieved if the fuel has been washed well enough. More soap can slow down the drying process. Biodiesel that contains a high level of monoglycerides can dry up fast because these chemicals are hygroscopic or water-absorbing.
To speed up the biodiesel drying process for your biofuel, you can opt to use a fan to increase the circulation of air in the container. Warm air can grasp more water vapor; therefore, you can heat up the air inside the container. Carbonated air is also applied in the fuel for a more rapid process.
You can also choose to dry your biodiesel at a faster rate. However, these procedures require skill and extra time to assemble. For a more technical process, you can use drying tanks or biodiesel processors heater. Others just add a heating element to the washing tank. You also need to have pumping or circulating device for your biodiesel. The outlet pipe connected to the pump has to be well fitted to maximize the effect of the spray pattern to the fuel. As the process goes, the surface area of the biodiesel increases as it lays contact to the air.
After having these vital components, you can no begin the quick drying biodiesel procedure. Start by heating up your fuel to 122°F or 50°C. Turn on the pump and let the fuel circulate. Direct the spray outlet to the interior wall of the tank. Keep in mind that as more surface contact, better water evaporation is made, thus quicker drying. However, there are some things to be remembered. Higher heating temperature requires utmost care.