The Appleseed 1.0 Biodiesel Processor
By Rick Da Tech
Photo courtesy of
The Appleseed Biodiesel Processor is a water heater based processor made popular by Maria "Girl Mark" Alovert, through the internet and her nationwide workshop tours where she teaches making biodiesel using the Appleseed reactor design. Her course material eventually turned into an ezine that Girl Mark published herself. She has since moved on from biodiesel and her book Biodiesel Homebrew Guide is no longer available.
Like so many of the world's greatest inventions, Girl Mark drew her original design on the back of a napkin at a coffeehouse as a project for an East Bay (California) Biodiesel Internship she was teaching with Jennifer Radtke of Biofuel Oasis. While assembling the first water heater-based processor as part of the course, Girl Mark and a number of the students, including Amber Crowley, worked out some of the kinks in the design.
The original criteria for the design included:
- No welding required
- Readily available parts
- Improved safety
Girl Mark at an Appleseed Workshop
After the course was over Girl Mark led the effort to develop the design with the aid of the Internet. Using a number of forum boards for communication, Girl Mark was able to engage a large number of volunteers to test out and improve on the design.
The result is the biodiesel processor that is now known as the Appleseed, which has been adopted as a safe, reliable standard. As the safest and lowest cost design available, it is the processor design of choice for thousands of biodiesel enthusiasts in the US and other countries. It can be built in a day and, if based on a 40 gallon water heater, typically makes 25 gallons at a time. If relying heavily on used parts, one can be built for under $400. If using all new parts it can cost upwards of $800. There are several internet stores selling biodiesel kits and turnkey processors based on the appleseed design for prices ranging from $600 to $6,000
The reactor design has continued to develop over the years and numerous improvements and upgrades can be found on the infopop forum, including a design which flips the water heater upside down. In our next post on the Appleseed we will cover an upgraded Appleseed Biodiesel Processor in more detail.