WFU Biofuels

Wake Forest students, faculty, staff and associates making and testing vegetable-oil based fuels.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Strength and Honor

Just wanted you guys to see a picture. Wished I was not teaching this summer!!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Splog update

Well, after one week I recovered 2 freaking mL of MeOH!!!!! I used an IR thermometer and the glycerin temperture was 55C. Either the MeOH came out so slowly it was not condensed or there was just not enough energy to liberate the MeOH. I don't believe this to be a simple distillation/evaporation. The glycerine is very basic and so the MeOH has to "rip" a proton from somewhere in order to leave the solution. If I try this again I'll do it in the lab where I can watch it more closly. Anyway, I just ended up pouring the glycerin into my compost pile. I was just kind of disappointed and that seemed to be the right thing to do at the moment. I am sure I breathed lots of MeOH in the process. On the up side this was worth a try and it was not a total loss. My compost smells really sweat and it's really dark. I am sure you could run the biodiesel reaction in a compost pile since it was so hot. We should give it a try on a small scale the next time we are preparing a reaction.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Blog about splog (aka soap log)

We are starting to stock pile glycerine-MeOH waste at our site. So I thought I'd try something cheap and easy. I have been turning my compost heap a lot as of late and noticed how freaking hot it was inside. I thought maybe I could heat the glycerin-MeOH waste and collect the MeOH. So I poured 15 gallons of waste into a drum and connected it via hose to a 5 gallon vented carboy. I thought the MeOH may come off too rapidly and just blow past the carboy or worse yet blow the hoses off and spray my yard with caustic glycerin. Well ........ 3 days latter, nothing!!! The drum is hot the carboy is cool but no MeOH. I found it kind of funny that you could OD on the the MeOH vapors when the glycerin is warm but you can't collect 1 mL when it's 70C. I'm just going to cover the compost with a tarp to generate more heat and leave it for a few more days. Maybe I'll collect some MeOH or have a huge log of glycerin soap in the drum. Imagine taking a bath with a 2 ft x 1 ft cylinder of soap.