Appleseed 2.0 Biodiesel Prcessor Plans
By Rick Da Tech
The Classic Appleseed reactor is a no welding required biodiesel processor that is easy to assemble from locally acquired materials. 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. It's the same layout that was used in the popular B100 Supply Biodiesel Processor Kit.
In this version the only part that may be difficult to find locally is the bimetallic thermometer and it can be found on the internet at most of the biodiesel equipment supply web sites. The plumbing should be made out of black pipe, but galvanized will do in a pinch. Brass ball valves are good, just make sure the ball on the inside is made out of metal. Some of the cheaper ones are metal plated plastic balls.
While a used water heater will work, it's a lot easier to start with a new one. You'll spend at least 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 out of 40 gallon or smaller water heaters, I prefer the low-boy or short fat water heaters because mixing can be better in them. It's easier to drain the glycerin more cleanly with less mixed bio/glycerin with a tall skinny water heater.
When building your Appleseed Biodiesel Processor, you will want to 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 will break loose by sticking a screwdriver down inside the dip tube and rocking the handle from side to side. Once it's 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've seen have been a 1-1/16" hex. The same size found on a ford truck tire tool.
Both the vent and the pressure relief valve on top need to be plumbed away from your workspace. The vent will during normal operation emit methanol vapors and you want them directed to where they can be dissipated 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 200F the valve will crack open and leak, so it will need to be plumbed like the vents, away from your workspace.
You will also need to disable the upper heating element. More on that later.
|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|
|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) Available from Northern Tools (Item# 109955).
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) If you purchase from the big box hardware store, all that will be available will be PVC tubing. PVC tubing is not compatible with biodiesel and will eventually degrade and fail. As soon as you notice the tubing start to degrade, replace it with either new tubing or steel plumbing.
Note 5) Pressure Relief Valve Optional
- 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