Appleseed 2.0 Biodiesel Prcessor Plans
By Rick Da Tech
The Classic Appleseed reactor is an easily assembled processor, sourced from locally acquired materials, and does not require any welding. It was made popular by Maria "Girl Mark" Alovert in her whirlwind of nationwide workshops. It took nearly four years to fine-tune the original and come up with this layout. B100 Supply used the same layout for its popular Biodiesel Processor Kit.
In this version, the only part that may be difficult to find locally is the bimetallic thermometer, and it is available on the internet. The plumbing is black pipe but galvanized works if you can not find black pipe. Brass ball valves are good, just make sure the ball on the inside is metal. Some of the cheaper ones are metal plated plastic balls.
While a used water heater can work, it is a lot easier to start with a new one. You can spend more than a day cleaning out a used one, and the fittings may not want to come out. If you look, you may be able to find a scratch and dent or returned water heater that the hardware store may sell you at a discount. You want to get the cheapest electric water heater available in the size you want. The more expensive ones have electronic controls on them that would make wiring the water heater difficult. For processors made from 40-gallon or smaller water heaters, I prefer the low-boy, or short fat water heaters because mixing can be better in them. However, tall skinny water heaters are easier to drain the glycerin with less mixed bio/glycerin.
When building your Appleseed Biodiesel Processor, remove both the dip tube in the cold-water inlet and the anode rod. The dip tube is a plastic tube found under the nipple in the cold-water inlet. Once the nipple is out, the dip tube breaks loose by sticking a screwdriver down inside the dip tube and rocking the handle from side to side. Once it is broken loose, just jam a finger down in the dip tube and pull it out. The anode rod is usually found on the top of the water heater under a plate and is usually labeled. So far all of them I have seen have been a 1-1/16" hex. It is the same size as found on a Ford truck tire tool.
Plumb both the vent and the pressure relief valve on top away from your workspace. During normal operation, the vent emits methanol vapors, and you want them directed to where they can dissipate without risk of poisoning people or animals. The stock TNP can be left in or replaced with a pipe plug. One note is that as the temperature rises near 200ºF, the valve cracks open and leaks, so plumb it like the vents, away from your workspace.
You also need to disable the upper heating element.
|Biodiesel Processor Bill of Materials|
|A||3/4" X 4" pipe nipple||3|
|B||3/4" x 45 deg Elbow||1|
|C||3/4" x close nipple||8|
|D||3/4" x 3/4" x 1/2" TEE||2||Note 2|
|E||1/2" hose barb||3|
|F||1/2" ball valve||2|
|G||1/2" close nipple||3|
|H||1/2" street elbow||1|
|I||1/2" swing check valve||1|
|J||3/4" x 1/2" bushing||1|
|L||3/4" ball valve||4|
|M||3/4" hose barb||5|
|O||1" x 3/4" bushing||1|
|P||clear water pump||1||Note 1|
|Q||1" close nipple||1|
|R||1" x 3/4" x 3/4" TEE||1||Note 2|
|S||3/4" braid reinforced PVC tubing||6ft||note 4|
|T||12 gauge power cord||6ft|
|V||3/4" x 1/2" x 3/4" TEE||1||Note 2|
|W||1/2" ID clear PVC tubing||10 ft||note 4|
|X||3/4" pipe plug||1|
|Z||3/4" x 16" pipe nipple||1|
|AB||1/2" x 12" pipe nipple||1|
|AC||3/4" x 12" pipe nipple||1|
|AD||30psi relief valve||1||note 5|
Note 1) Clear Water Pumps are available on the internet for under $50. Northern Tools Pedrollo pump (Item# 58176) is the best one, of its size and type that I have seen.
Note 2) TEEs are specified as end x end x middle so a 3/4" x 3/4" x 1/2" TEE would have the 1/2" threads in the middle and the 3/4" threads on the ends.
Note 3) This thermometer can sometimes be found used for BBQ grills as well. The earlier versions used an automotive mechanical water temperature gauge.
Note 4) PVC tubing is not compatible with biodiesel and eventually degrades and fails. When the PVC shows signs of degrading, replace it with steel piping.
Note 5) The pressure relief valve is optional, as long as the vent remains unblocked.
- Choosing a Water Heater - How to pick a water heater for your Appleseed
- Wiring the Appleseed - The basics of how to wire up your Appleseed
- Appleseed Controls - A little more advanced, how to build a control panel.
- Clearwater Pump - Upgrades and improvements for your Appleseed's pump
- Mixing Methoxide - Mixing methoxide the easy way
- Loading the Appleseed - How to get oil into your Appleseed