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Discussion Starter #1
This is probably a bit off topic for this forum, but....

Has anyone tried making BD and using it in their oil fired furnace/boiler to heat their house?

It may not be practical for most people if they use a large amount of fuel. But, I have a high-efficiency wood boiler and a big thermal storage tank that I use most of the time. The oil only take over if we are gone for more than 3 days. In reality, my biggest use of oil is during the summer for domestic hot water (I have a hot water heater that is a zone off the boiler.)

I would be looking at 300 or less gallons per year. Part of my thinking, is that the boiler should be much more forgiving than my truck fuel system. Making fuel for the boiler could be practice for making fuel for my truck. Not to mention total independance from oil for heating my house.

Any thoughts on this? My biggest concern would be the BD eating any rubber components in the oil burner itself. Second concern is that I now have 2 tanks (275 gal) that I rotate through. With this new wood boiler, I use about one tank per year. So the fuel could be sitting one year in the tank. Are there any problems with doing this with BD?

Thanks,
Steve
 

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Check out http://groups.yahoo.com/group/altfuelfurnace/?yguid=220589629

Most of the discussion centers around using straight oil rather than biodiesel, but there is some discussion of using biodiesel as well.

Moral of the story is you would probably be okay, with the exception of the rubber problem you mentioned already. In most burners there is really nothing internal that I would worry about getting dissolved, but the fuel feed lines might need to be replaced, depending on their age and condition.

If your tanks sit outside, gelling might be more of a concern, but there are work-arounds for that.

As far as letting it sit for a year, I would be a little hesitant of that. Spec. fuel would probably be okay, with the slight exception that biodiesel does tend to pick up moisture a little more readily than petrol diesel. Dissolved water might be an issue, which could lead to microorganism growth over that time span. A fuel treatment such as bio-bloc should fix that, though.

Fuel made yourself, however, might be more of an issue sitting that long. Unless it is very thoroughly washed, it is very possible for a continuing reaction to go on in the tank, which would lead to glycerin slowly dropping out of solution. You could eventually end up with glycerin plugging filters and such when you fire it back up. Properly reacted and washed fuel, though, would avoid this problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I'll check that out. The lines from the tanks to the boiler are copper, so no worries there. I was more worried about internal washers/gaskets in the burner.

The tanks are in the basement, so gelling is not a concern. I originally went to using two tanks to get better pricing on bulk purchases, and with a woodstove in the house, two tanks lasted most of the winter.

I've actually considered putting a T in the line to the boiler and getting a filter/water separator and a pump to circulate the tanks back into themselves every once in a while. Adding a little bio-cide wouldn't be a bad idea, even with the fuel I have now.
 

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The only internal part I can think of that may have a problem with biodiesel would be in the fuel cut-off solenoid. The ones I have had apart had metal/metal seals with no rubber components. But I guess it isn't out of the realm of possiblity that some could have rubber components. Some burners don't even have cut-off solenoids on them, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I only had a few minutes to look around that site. (Actually, I've applied for membership and was referred to a related site in the meantime.)

I see some people are using blended and straight WVO. I hadn't thought about that. Although they are starting on #2 then switching to WVO/blend once the burner is hot, then back to #2 before it stops burning. Seems like extra controls would be required, so that when the aquastat is satisfied, the fuel is switched to #2 for a while, then the burner shut off.

Well, my curiosity is peaked. Sounds like it is a workable project.
 

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I have an older burner that I have used to play around with running WVO through. If your oil is plenty warm it works pretty well, but on my burner even hot oil doesn't want to light very well. So, it would need to be a situation like you describe with a switching system back and forth between oil and diesel. Even on hot fuel, mine will smoke quite a bit more on oil than diesel, but that is probably more due to it not being in a proper combustion chamber than anything else.

At any rate, that yahoo group has quite a few ideas and options that people have tried, so you should be able to get something together that will work.
 

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I haven't tried any in mine yet, my tank sits outside. With an outside tank I'm sure you could use a 3% blend all the time & you could go probably 20% with the new bio-anti gel. If you have an area where your tank will stay warm - 70 degrees or so, I would think you could easily use a 80 or 90% blend. You might want to install a large prefilter when first trying bio. To catch any crud you clean out of the system. & to keep from plugging your more expensive furnace filter. Myself I would probably use one designed for a fuel tank with a water drain pet****. The filters on my fuel tanks are about 2 qt capacity. I would put a bypass of some sort around the added filter so if it ever plugged you wouldn't be out of heat. Or just keep a spare or some other plan B.
 

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BD in furnace

Hi ,the easyest way i find is to mix 5 to 10% of kerosene with my bio to "clear" the bio . i tried on a small batch 5 gal tank direct to the pump of my furnace ,with cupper pipe.first test 5 % poore result Second test 10% much better result and nice smell from the outside.:)
 
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