# Cleaning waste motor oils for oil burning type boilers

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#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
Mainly for Western who is attempting to build a oil fired boiler that runs on non veg (i dont thin he is using veg oil) oil. Specifically this is more for normal type oil boilers that are converted to run waste 'oils'.

For most people these are likely to be normal car/van engine type oils. For some people (mainly those in agricultural areas) the waste oil is likely to a untold mix of different fluids. There is a video posted somewhere with a method of using a centrifuge type system as a stage in cleaning up the oil, i will try and find a better one to post.

There are many ways why its best to clean the oil, in all cases check the regulations for where you live, even within the UK there are different rules according to the area type you live in. So check emission rules! All OIL fired boilers in the UK have strict legal limits for emissions, many of these are actually based on safety such as the amount of Carbon Monoxide you are allowed to produce.

From memory Aus has very similar rules, so keep in mind when i post the list later, it may or may not apply to where YOU live, do not skimp on the yearly test, it is not that expensive to have your boiler checked once a year, in many places it is also a requirement to do so. In the UK non compliance with these rules will cost you MANY times the cost of getting a pro in and getting the test done.

Without adding drama keep in mind if you dont have that bit of paper, and someone dies from say carbon monoxide poisoning, then legally you could be facing a very lengthy prison sentence.

The good news is.............Most of the time, cleaning up oil to burn isnt that difficult and tuning your system to burn the oil efficiently shouldnt be too hard.
I will post a video on the centrifuge system, this should be seen as a part of cleaning and not the only method used. Then we can go into other methods etc.

The House boiler we have now does not use waste motor oil, it was installed very recently so i havnt converted this one yet, the one that runs part of my workshop etc is converted. I tend to find it easier to get Fat from fatbergs in sewers than waste motor oils, so much of the time we run our boiler on home made bio diesel heating oil. This is slightly different to the biodiesel fuel we make for the tractor and car.

If Western is interested i can go into turning solid fat from sewers into heating oil. Oddly enough fatbergs in sewers are actually a hard for of soap and not fat as such, so they need processing first. But the oil you get from the processed waste is as good as purchased heating oil (IMHO).

#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
Western same vid as before, i looked for the other and its gone. I emailed the guy who had the video and because it was mainly a chemistry site you tube closed his account, they are shutting alot of the decent chem sites and no one is sure why.

But if you watch carefully it gives you the idea. I have asked my Aus friend to contact you via email, i will go into detail on how we clean ours. Often it will depend how bad it is, just a side note.....

in the UK garages have to get a waste disposal certificate from the places that collect the oil, they cant just give it to you as they have to prove it was disposed of properly. When me made alot of biodiesel and i set one the companies up, i used the company SIC numbers (they are numbers the register uses to denote your main area of business, each business can use upto 4), I got one for waste disposal (oil based) and bio fuel.

So we are allowed to take waste oil from garages and sign a ticket for them. Some places will give you small amounts but most times not much. I am told it isnt as bad there as it is here. I will walk you through all the clean up, but the main steps are (as applies here) under 50 gallon storage you can use a single skin tank, over that and it has to be a bunded tank (double skinned), I use a couple of old steel farm fuel tanks around 50 gal each, they are tilted around a few degrees with a wedge one end.

The idea being as it settles the gunk falls into one end, i also put some strong magnets outside to catch the metal bits (i have magnets in more than one part of the process). The take off pipe is roughly 3/4 the way up the tank of the far side of the dirty end, i also have a short take off clean side near the bottom so i can empty it. I tend to let the oil settle for around 4-6 months, it gets easier to do that with the more you collect. I then process it in batches of roughly 40 -45 gallons.

Its transferred into the process tank,this has a small short water heating coil in, its mainly run from the generator cooling system via a valve. I heat the oil ~50C for 24 hours and then it goes through first lot of bucket filters with meshes that go one inside the other, being warm its more runny and goes through the washable filters more easily. You could skip this bit and go onto the spinner step, but the more you get out at the point the easier life is with cleaning!

The other thing we do is on the oil spinner, we use one similar to this https://www.aliexpress.com/item/oil...0j5Yzr0&transAbTest=ae803_1&priceBeautifyAB=0

But look on ebay etc, people buy them and soon get bored buying the inline filters or cleaning them etc. So they tend to go cheap. We have a 50 ltr drum that we feed oil into, this connects to the centrifuge, now on ours we modified it. There is a T valve on it, one goes through a series of inline oil filter cartridges (3 of different micron filter membranes), and the other side by passes this. We do two runs min through the non filter side first. We keep topping up the heated 50ltr drun and keep spinning until we dont get much stick to the centrifuge sides.

The oil entering the spinner is around 60-70C so it flows better, you should get a thick wall of sludge stick to the side of the centrifuge, the trick is to feed the oil in nice and slow. We stop the machine and scrape the bowel out as needed (we keep the sludge as a pellet binder ), once there is little sludge we do two passes in the centrifuge via the inline filters . i will go grab a pic of the next bit

#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
Really not my day for getting pics or videos!! my google foo is foofed .

I got the idea from the Journal of chemical education, i have posted some the info before on this site. I cant post most of it here as its a public site, i can share the details with you via a link and log in however, but the pic is worth seeing first.Take a look at the pic carefully

On the other site i can publish the recipes for magnetic bio char, as you can see its very effective, especially with soot type particles as they can carry a charge, the way this stuff is made means soot sticks to it a bit like static electric, it also removes alot of colouring via its normal action. This is not activated charcoal and dont use that!! it dosnt work as well.

To get the stuff out you simply use a magnet because the particles are all magnetic. The pic gives you an idea how well it cleans up stuff

Western what do you want info on next? more on boiler fuels and more cleaning techniques, or you want boiler conversion stuff? We use different boilers to the states so they are much easier to modify.

Oil wise i still got alot of info left, its also worth mentioning if i can find it i will post the vids showing what spinning removes, it makes a massive difference to the way the oil burns, it also drastically cuts emissions!

If your in a smoke controlled area you need to comply with those anyway, but even if your not, its worth cleaning up your emissions just to get the better burning characteristics.

Win win, enviro friendly (well as far as fossil fuel ca be) and burns better.

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#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
In the UK we got big problems with fat bergs, these are congealed fats etc (known as FOG's in the trade, Fats,Oils and Grease) blocking sewers, they go hard as concrete and are difficult to remove. However they can be turned into clean bio fuel fairly easily.

A certain company i obviously cant mention by name, specializes in doing this but there product is poor quality heating oil. It comes out black like used engine oil, the reason is they use Conc Sulphuric and other mineral acids in the process, so you get alot of carbon from the organics produced. There really is no reason to do that, and if you did do that then the above process with bio char would clean it. So why do it and why is the stuff like concrete?

Well it starts off with things like wet wipes being put in the sewer and trapping grease, then over time they build up. But there is a secondary process going on, the stuff we call fatbergs is actually soap by the time its got out! So quick word to explain how it turns into soap......

3 main chemicals can be used for saponification, Potassium Hydroxide is used to make liquid type soaps, Sodium Hydroxide is used to make normal solid bar cold process soap and...... Calcium Hydroxide can be used but rarely ever is, it makes....... ROCK HARD soap! So where does the fat get saponified?

Down in the sewer they are mainly brick with mortar or concrete lined, also sodium hydroxide is used as a drain unblocker, but main route is just time and the leaching of calcium Hydroxide from the concrete or mortar, over a few years the fat turns rock hard soap. So mineral acids are used to break the bonds and turn it back into fats (sort of) then normal bio fuel route.

But there is a different but slightly longer route you can take, you get a much much cleaner product, all the non fat waste can be put in the stuff used to make fuel pellets in CHAP boilers (normally with added oxidizer and forced air incineration) and the organic waste including the glycerine can be used in a AD system, or the glycerine could be used to make Ethanol based fuel. So again a zero waste system. BUT its a PITA of a process but pretty cheap.

If the Gov had any brain cells then bio fuels like that would get a tax break. There is a lobby group looking at this, the high fossil fuel tax rate was done so we are told, to make people cut down on fossil fuel usage.... yeah right! But the counter argument now is, if that is the case and it is stated policy so must be true. Then green fuels should get a tax break, being in Scotland i would really like this. with all the distilleries up here they could produce ethanol around the clock for fuel. Some distillery only fire up every couple of years presently!

To me would make alot of economic sense and be good for job creation. Plus i could make a few quid

#### unclejed613

##### Well-Known Member
this search: https://archive.org/details/texts?and[]=gas+engine&sin=
brings up a lot of books from the early 20th century on internal combustion engines that ran off of many different fuels. there's even a paper from US government research on using wood gas in automobiles: https://archive.org/details/DTIC_ADA208249 while you are looking through those search results, you will find references to "producer gas", which is carbon monoxide produced from partial combustion of coal, and on some instances, dissociated water (HHO) is added to increase the power and efficiency. that search alone is a huge treasure trove. a lot of things that were tried when internal combustion technology was in it's infancy, might actually be much more cost-effective today than it was back then. they're at least worth another look. for instance, if you run an engine on wood gas, you end up with a big pile of carbon in the "cooker". that carbon can then be used as a source of "producer gas", and so the engine effectively has used up all of the energy available from the wood. such a 2-stage process could likely use anything as fuel, not exactly a "Mr Fusion", but similar idea, use your trash as fuel.

#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
Coal gas was used for a long time in street lighting, we mainly became oil dependent when more and more was discovered, it became like heroin and everyone pretty much stopped looking at other solutions.
The bit i really dont get is it being finite, to me dosnt matter if its 10 years or 200 years, you would think no one really designs policies so short sighted.

So may people green energy advocates are anti oil, this isnt true on the whole. I think its much more a case of using something carefully, same with the other argument over climate change. I am not so much bothered by CO2 as i am about the world wide destruction of carbon sinks, they play a much bigger part. Then you have critical population point, study microbiology for even a short while, it soon becomes clear how unstable a population is once it reaches critical density.

So many people assume microbes are a bad human model for population studies, i think the truth is they simply dont want to know how bad it is. The recent Olympic games showed what happens when you let things slide, even 4 years clean up didnt dent the pollution.

#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
Methanol is a good fuel, especially from wood waste. But some serious problems with auto ignition, i work with it alot and while i see alot of positives with it, personally i think its more dangerous than petrol in some respects. Burns hot but really clear! It was really cheap a little while back, but seems to have shot up like alot of chemicals recently.

I got some info somewhere on cleaning used oil with methanol, its fairly easy to recover the methanol after. Ultimately the cleaner the waste oil the better it burns, but its a time/cost V value thing.

The methods detailed so far or worth doing, they pay back quickly. Some systems are not far from re cracking oil, which is pointless in most cases. Having said that some people try and distill it, if you go that far you might as well crack it! Works out easier to crack than distill, but i wouldnt recommend that for boilers!!

Maybe if it all goes 'MAD MAX' then home cracking kits from alibaba might be worth a punt

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#### tcmtech

##### Banned
The methods detailed so far or worth doing, they pay back quickly. Some systems are not far from re cracking oil, which is pointless in most cases. Having said that some people try and distill it, if you go that far you might as well crack it! Works out easier to crack than distill, but i wouldnt recommend that for boilers!!
It depends on what your end intentions are.

I've been putting serious thought into the DIY micro refinery concepts over the last year or two give how much used oil I am collecting now.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15567030701258469?journalCode=ueso20

http://www.engineeringoil.com/index.php

For me I certainly see the potential for doing some deeper personal research in the concept myself just to see what comes of it, if anything at all.

I don't know where I may go with it but I have now been pondering on several different micro refinery designs from simple single batch barrel based cookers to substantially more complex continuous flow multi stage processors.

#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
Thats alot of work when all you need is a hot iron wool bed and pass the vapors over it, biggest head ache is the crud your left with. Anything under 5000ltrs a day wont pay you back in power costs or equipment if done properly.

Cracking used engine oil was the very first catalyst/distillation experiment we did in that section of the lab work, got my notes somewhere on the write up. Burnt iron wool is less than <1% less efficient than the fancy catalysts, its not something that ever really took off. The massive places that collect waste oil dont re crack as it creates a bigger headache than it resolves.

These days other methods make it much easier to use for less cost and less faff. But if your distilling glycol then add a tube section with hot iron wool , sorted

#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
Western i got most the info transferred over now, with some videos i did and all the lab work we did here and uni. Still not locked the server down as this years finals around the corner, soon as i get them out the way i will sort it.

Got a new forum section, might make you smile , Last 4 module exams then i am done.

#### Western

##### Member
Western i got most the info transferred over now, with some videos i did and all the lab work we did here and uni. Still not locked the server down as this years finals around the corner, soon as i get them out the way i will sort it.

Got a new forum section, might make you smile , Last 4 module exams then i am done.
That's great news thank you, I can't wait ... and good luck with your exams.

I've been quietly researching and mulling over which way to proceed. Have watched many hours of youtube videos and a lot of great practical stuff about biogas.

1) I still lean towards setting up a bio digestor and making it as efficient as possible (with some guidance) … and using the gas to run a couple of gas heaters in the house and in my workshop. At least in winter I can fairly easily make use of any gas.

Of course in summer time … I either need to let it go dormant … or find another use for the gas.

2) My questions about using reclaimed engine oil to fire a boiler were mainly because they are foreign to me here in Australia … and I really need to understand a technology and hopefully the pros and cons … before I can make a decision.

I don't know what you think isn't worth the time and money but to me $20,000+ in avoided costs is worth a lot given we go through around 1000 or more gallons of diesel fuel here a year anyway and can easily find way to use more if it cheap enough! Enough in fact to justify getting 3/4 - 1 ton diesel pickup just for a daily driver. Crud wise that's not a big deal either. The bulk of it is going to be heavy hydrocarbons which still burn so throwing them in a hot wood fire while I am processing big electric motors, transformers and wiring for scrap copper seems like a reasonable disposal method. #### tcmtech ##### Banned Most Helpful Member After seeing tcm’s home built one in another thread and all the links … I maybe could do that if I got really serious … but my biggest concern is that if we need to have them inspected and ok’d by authorities … then it’s pretty unlikely they are ever going to allow a home built device to be used … at least here in Australia. If there is no such requirement then maybe it still is an option. Around here we get around the inspections and insurance liability technicalities by using designs that are open and cant hold pressure. Technically they are just outdoor free standing water heaters which exempts them from pretty much all the rules a closed system boiler has that goes with it. If you're serious about building one that's the path to pursue. My guess is you wont have near as many legality hurdles to cross with that design concept. Typically nobody cares if you heat up water in a open tank in the middle of your yard and by that view all you have is a really fancy well built tank with some hoses attached to it. Or at least that's how the insurance companies view basic non pressurized outdoor boiler units here. #### Western ##### Member Around here we get around the inspections and insurance liability technicalities by using designs that are open and cant hold pressure. Technically they are just outdoor free standing water heaters which exempts them from pretty much all the rules a closed system boiler has that goes with it. Ah ... ok. I did wonder earlier on and asked the question as to whether it was a pressurised boiler or an open one ... but didn't follow it up. I can certainly understand some sort of regulations needed for sealed units. If you're serious about building one that's the path to pursue. My guess is you wont have near as many legality hurdles to cross with that design concept. Typically nobody cares if you heat up water in a open tank in the middle of your yard and by that view all you have is a really fancy well built tank with some hoses attached to it. Or at least that's how the insurance companies view basic non pressurized outdoor boiler units here. Blast ... that puts a spanner in the works ... now I have to rethink. So if I did build one ... you suggested fitting a 'radiator' coil inside the ducting of our existing aircon ... and using the fan to distribute the warm air around the house ... you then need a pump system to circulate water from the boiler to the coil and back. How complex and reliable are they? I do have to admit ... putting together a biogas system would be an easier task for me ... though I did buy a new mig welder last year and need some practice. #### tcmtech ##### Banned Most Helpful Member So if I did build one ... you suggested fitting a 'radiator' coil inside the ducting of our existing aircon ... and using the fan to distribute the warm air around the house ... you then need a pump system to circulate water from the boiler to the coil and back. How complex and reliable are they? Around here the pumps are cheap and easy to get. Every major home building supply center caries them and the majority of the parts needed to build such system. Same with online dealers. There are hundreds of them that carry all the stuff you need. Reliability wise most circulator pumps will run for decades as long as they have water in them and it doesn't become to contaminated with crud. As for info that pretty easy to find as well. Hot water based heating has been around for a long time so there's loads of info on it online telling you how to size the pumps, piping, heat exchange systems and more. Really it's mostly just a matter of doing the deep dive and digging into the concepts in order to learn how all the pieces work and fit together. Most of it when broken down into its individual components is really simple to work with. You just build a system one piece at a time. https://maysupply.com/hydronics-101-terminology/ Once you know your typical heating load then you can calculate what size of heat exchanger you need then what lines you need and then the pump to make that all work properly and so on. You won't learn it all in day but in a week of spare time you will be someplace comfortable on the basic concepts and shortly after that you will have a very solid idea of what you would need to make a system work for yourself. https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1....0...1.1.64.psy-ab..0.6.1022....0.N9X_oJdoT-M #### large_ghostman ##### Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member Western a boiler shouldnt cost you more than maybe$400.

TCM just in case you missed the point.....You need electrical heating with oil cracking at home......Flames would really not end well .

Western I have asked for the number of where to get a boiler from, as an exercise I will try and get some time and run some really dirty oil through the lab centrifuge, and show you the results from different filtering techniques etc.

Its too much hassle to set up vac distillation and air condensers etc to show you home cracking, but maybe when i can be bothered and i got more time i might show you the different ways.

TCM how/where you going to get rid off all that extremely toxic waste from cracking? ooops i forgot you dont get toxic waste there.

Western should be ready to show you all the pics by next week. Including some on fixed bed reactors which might be another way forward for you, if you get too much gas in summer there is a way to switch the process a little and do something else with the reactor in summer. I need to have a think about it.

Out of interest you got much iron in your soil?

#### Western

##### Member
Around here the pumps are cheap and easy to get. Every major home building supply center caries them and the majority of the parts needed to build such system. Same with online dealers. There are hundreds of them that carry all the stuff you need.

Reliability wise most circulator pumps will run for decades as long as they have water in them and it doesn't become to contaminated with crud.

As for info that pretty easy to find as well. Hot water based heating has been around for a long time so there's loads of info on it online telling you how to size the pumps, piping, heat exchange systems and more.

Really it's mostly just a matter of doing the deep dive and digging into the concepts in order to learn how all the pieces work and fit together. Most of it when broken down into its individual components is really simple to work with. You just build a system one piece at a time.

https://maysupply.com/hydronics-101-terminology/

Once you know your typical heating load then you can calculate what size of heat exchanger you need then what lines you need and then the pump to make that all work properly and so on.

You won't learn it all in day but in a week of spare time you will be someplace comfortable on the basic concepts and shortly after that you will have a very solid idea of what you would need to make a system work for yourself.

Thanks ... you're right ... once I started following the links, it's amazing the info that's out there. I've spent a couple weeks going over the biogas concept ... so I can afford a week investigating this.

Even if there's not that big a supply of parts and pumps around here ... the web's made the world a pretty small place.

#### Western

##### Member
Western a boiler shouldnt cost you more than maybe \$400.

Western I have asked for the number of where to get a boiler from, as an exercise I will try and get some time and run some really dirty oil through the lab centrifuge, and show you the results from different filtering techniques etc.
Ok thanks, that will be really helpful ... and just to clarify for myself ... here you're talking about used engine oil ... not used cooking oil.

Western should be ready to show you all the pics by next week. Including some on fixed bed reactors which might be another way forward for you, if you get too much gas in summer there is a way to switch the process a little and do something else with the reactor in summer. I need to have a think about it.
Looking forward to it. Pictures always help ... I'm a visual learner.

Out of interest you got much iron in your soil?
That's something I have no clue about. I do know we're on a lot of red clay ... iron oxide? How would I find out otherwise?

ooops i forgot you dont get toxic waste there.
You're not trying to get this thread locked as well? Stirrer.

#### tcmtech

##### Banned
TCM just in case you missed the point.....You need electrical heating with oil cracking at home......Flames would really not end well .
Maybe I know some things you don't.

TCM how/where you going to get rid off all that extremely toxic waste from cracking? ooops i forgot you dont get toxic waste there.
Only toxic by your less than formal standards. Maybe I will make a lot of heavy tar and mix it with some sand and gravel and pave my driveway with it. Otherwise I will simply remediate it with simple 'oxygen reduction' methods as I said earlier. 'The best solution to pollution is dilution.'

Or I may invade scotland old school style too. Given how you react to anything you don't agree with, after the first puff of black smoke you see, most of you will just lay down and die on your own just to spare yourselves from living with the endless emotional trauma of being in a 'polluted environment'.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_thermal_weapons

#### tcmtech

##### Banned
Thanks ... you're right ... once I started following the links, it's amazing the info that's out there. I've spent a couple weeks going over the biogas concept ... so I can afford a week investigating this.

Even if there's not that big a supply of parts and pumps around here ... the web's made the world a pretty small place.
Rather how I have handled everything that peaked my interests over the years. Dig into it and see what I can find and who I can annoy for having done it myself.

Pretty much every major online retail site has stuff related to hydronic heating so finding the heat exchanger, lines, and pumps will be easy and cheap if you can't get them locally for some odd reason.

You're not trying to get this thread locked as well? Stirrer.
Yep. Don't burn your own thread down just because you don't like that reality and the rest of the world works differently than your idealisms want it to.

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