VER 1.02:

Modified "Introduction" to reflect concerns about minimal documentation provided with kits purchased on E-Bay, or through homebrew biodiesel retail outlets.

Under "Opinion Regarding TFD Requirements" , added recommendation regarding engaging your local Fire Department regarding homebrew activities.

Added perspective under "Homeowners Insurance Policies".

The term "Biofuels Desert Initiative conference" corrected to read "Desert Biofuels Initiative conference".

Removed topic "Land Use Codes", and supplemented topic for "Zoning Issues".

Under "Building an Appleseed Processor", noted that this design and its associated methods have not been reviewed by a professional engineer or professional chemist. As such, there may be associated risks that are not fully understood by me.

Under "Building an Appleseed Processor", references to Graydon Blair now also cite Utah Biodiesel Supply.

VER 1.03:

There are many minor editorial revisions throughout the document. Here, I present a list of the most important revisions and/or corrections.

Throughout the document, all references to “natural rubber” removed and replaced with the word “rubber”.

Throughout the document, all references to “nipple extractor” replaced with “internal pipe wrench”.

Under “Diagramed Processor, added text: “I believe that Girl Mark’s design has applications for methanol recovery from residual glycerin that I am not familiar with at this time. An alternative, less expensive, and much simpler design is presented in the next section of this document.”

Under “Biodiesel Chemistry”, modified introduction to read as follows: “The following overview is principally sourced to Maria Mark Alovert’s Homebrew Manual and consultations with homebrewers in the Tucson biodiesel community. I must also acknowledge those of you who have provided valuable input via the coop who have provided input via this thread:

Under “Biodiesel Chemistry”, added the following to the introduction: “Please keep in mind that this section has not been compiled or peer reviewed by a credentialed chemist; I’m just a home brewer trying to get my head around what’s taking place in my processor. For those of you with a broad background in biodiesel chemistry, I’ll admit this section will not broaden your horizons significantly. Instead, you are better served reviewing the archives of the American Oil Chemist Society ( ) and the published literature.”

Under “Biodiesel Chemistry”, removed text: “Stoichiometrically, the reaction requires 5 grams of NaOH and 150 ml of methanol per liter of waste oil (triglyceride) used. In addition, heat is added to the reaction to facilitate conversion. The volume of biodiesel produced will equal the volume of triglycerides reacted, and the volume of glycerin byproduct will equal the volume of methanol reacted.” Given that different oils will require different stoichiometries for reactants, removed all other references to “stoichiometry” since it goes beyond a simple explanation of the chemistry.

Under “Biodiesel Chemistry”, removed text “Given that the additional methanol is not consumed in the reaction, about 1/3 of the excess will partition into the biodiesel phase. As such, this phase needs to be washed with water. When water is used to wash biodiesel, it also becomes a contaminant, and must be eliminated through the drying of biodiesel.”. This text has been replaced with: “In order to ensure that the reaction moves forward to completion, excess methanol is typically used for the reaction. After transesterification, some of that excess methanol will partition to the biodiesel phase, but most will end up in the glycerin byproduct.”

Throughout the document, all references to percent acidity of waste vegetable oil are now corrected and read “acid number”.

Under “Biodiesel Chemistry”, text related to “mixing” now reads: “Mixing is required to ensure reactants overcome kinetic barriers for transesterification. If reactants are not mixed appropriately, the reaction may not go to completion. This will result in a smaller yields of biodiesel coupled with the formation of mono and diglycerides, as well as unreacted triglycerides. The presence of unreacted or partially-reacted triglycerides is addressed through reprocessing. Introducing heat helps with the mixing process.”

Under “Biodiesel Chemistry”, text related to “Cloud and Pour Point” now reads: “Cloud point is defined as the temperature at which wax crystals begin to form in the fuel.”

Under “Hazardous Material Classifications”, added flammable / combustible classification for common reactants and products used in biodiesel manufacture.

I’ve also added about a dozen more pictures throughout the document for version 1.03 mostly having to do with my own operation; more are coming.

A huge thanks goes out to all of you on the
blog for all your constructive criticism. Please keep the recommendations and corrections coming so that we we can make this document something of value for the homebrew community.

VER 1.04:

Added parts list and design for a bucket-funnel for the simple transfer of oil to an appleseed processor. For the update, please see the section associated with the diagrammed appleseed processor.

Reflected input from on the importance of dry oil and mixing; for update, see section dealing with biodiesel chemistry. (Thank you Producer and Foxden for your valuable input).

VER 1.05:

Added a slide summarizing a totalized breakdown of the plumbing parts needed for the simple verson of the appleseed processor.

Added summary of a conversation with Craig Gross - a zoning official with the City of Tucson. Notes center on commercial and residential zoning requirements for producing and storing biodiesel within the City of Tucson.

Added slides summarizing the design of a home made filtration unit for filtering biodiesel donw to 1 micron. The design was developed by Steve Fischer - a friend, inventor, and local Tucson homebrewer.

Thanks to an extensive review by Foxden (, I received and incorporated some minor recommendations (and a few important corrections) as noted here:

p. 42: Soap may be formed from the reaction of the catalyst (not alkali salts) and free fatty acids. (this is why we add excess catalyst – some is consumed in forming soaps, and is why we titrate to see how much excess catalyst we need).

Agree - edits addressed.

p.44 – I would recommend adding a brief section on 80/20, 90/10 two stage base catalyzed reaction. This is often used to reduce methanol consumption and increase yields, especially on higher titrating oils.

This will be addressed in a future revision once I learn more about it. At this time, I am learning about acid esterification, and will probably include a summary of that method in my next revision (version 1.06). The 80/20 or 90/10 will be addressed in the revision after that (version 1.07).

NOTE: Foxden highly recommends this method. For those not wanting to wait for revision 1.07, please check the or the web at large for respective information and guidance.

p. 46: In your reaction diagram, you do not need to show the triglycerides on both sides of the reaction. They are not involved, only the fatty acids are esterified. Just eliminate them from the expression.

Agree – this has been addressed.

p. 47 – line 4, capitalization of Appleseed (not appleseed). You may need to do a quick document search, I think this was inconsistent a couple of times.

Agree – search and replace executed.

p. 52 – most anode nuts require a 1 1/16 inch socket (or 27 mm) to remove. You might note this.

p. 86 – a cumulative summary list of parts might be useful, i.e. 7 – ” close nipples, as it would make shopping easier.

Agree – a graphic summarizing the plumbing parts for the simplified processor has been included in this revision; I will address more thoroughly in subsequent revisions. I may offer the parent Microsoft Access database where all the parts are stored to those who make any donation in support of the site and future revisions. The database can be used to generate the kinds of reports you are interested in. Of course, the manual will always be made available for free.

p.96 – Methoxide delivery in not methodox

Agree - typo addressed.

p. 99 – appleseed vs. Appleseed. Also, I have found the following link: to be an excellent source for valves and fittings – low prices and low shipping. in. valves are $4.19 for example.

Added information to slide showing summary of parts for simple processor.

p. 100 – since Red Devil Lye is not available in most places you might note that Lowes does sell Roebic Drain Cleaner which is 100% NaOH. It currently sells for $7.66 for a two pound container.

Added reference to section dealing with suppliers.

p. 101 edits in 2 nd paragraph of section Collecting oil: occasional(ly) collect as compared (to) mom-and-pop will say “no.”

Typos addressed.

p. 112: Soap forms due to the fact that there are fatty acids in the oil that react with catalyst. It isn’t really due to too much catalyst. It is going to react first and consume catalyst, that is why we titrate and add the extra. It is pretty much a fact of life, the poorer the oil, with respect to fatty acids, the more soap we need to contend with. For very highly acidic oils, acid catalyzed esterification is done just to get rid of them and generate some biodiesel in the process.

You are absolutely right – step 14 has been edited to reflect the need for additional catalayst to offset consumption resulting from neutralization of FFAs.

If anyone is interested interested in a conceptual animation of transesterification and the impact of FFAs on transesterification and soap formation, please see my online video available at . The video available on that site is entitled “Biodiesel 101 – Rendering Biodiesel from Waste Vegetable Oils and Animal Fats”. Consider jumping ahead to the chapter on”Transesterification” and then fast forwarding to minute 12:28 once the video has fully loaded. Make sure your volume is turned up.

In the italicized section you refer to 1 gram of catalyst. I think you should be writing it as 1.0 gram to indicate the accuracy of the measurements. Also, it is noted to be 93% isopropyl alcohol and earlier in the text ( I remember) you referred to 70%. I didn’t check my own bottle, but it might be 91% from CVS. I think the higher percentage alcohol works better because the oil is more soluable. I would write 1.0 ml, too.

Correct – for the time being, I’ve reworded the section regarding alcohol to read “ purity above 90% pure is best, but 70% will work if that’s all you can get”. The bottle shown in the image was my purchased when I first started. Results were acceptable. 1 gram has been modified to read 1.0 gram.

p.115 – you may want to indicate that disposable nitrile gloves are most chemically resistant.

I’ve addressed as follows: "According to Industrial Safety Supply (, Ansell “Touch-n-Tuff” nitrile gloves are chemically resistant to sodium hydroxide, sulfuric acid, and methanol. If you purchase disposable nitrile gloves, remember to use these once and throw them away since they will degrade with exposure. More information on gloves and chemical resistance is presented n the appendix of this document, and may also be researched at the website hosted by Industrial Safety Supply ( For your own protection, do your own research before you purchase."

p. 116 accurate to 1.0 gram

p. 129 section 30. 0.1% not 0.01% sodium hydroxide

p. 138 spacing and comma in wash ,water (top photo).

p. 148 “wash-water” other times you use “wash water.” I would search and replace to be consistent and probably use “wash water.”

P. 154 – fueling at the “pump.” The period was left off.

p. 156 – last paragraph alternatives “to” 55 gallon barrels. “to” was omitted.

One last item, a couple of times you used B-20 vs. B20. To be consistent I would suggest doing a search for any B- or b- and replace with just “B or b.”

Got it – all excellent suggestions. Necessary corrections have been made!

I appreciate having a fresh pair of eyes review this for me. This truly demonstrates the value of the open source community, and I hope the biodiesel community will keep the review and edits coming. Thanks Foxden!

VER 1.06

Section on Zoning has udpated with new information.

Manual has been reorganized; discussions regarding safety have now been copied/ compiled into a single easy-to-review chapter. Suggestions regarding safety are welcome and may be forwarded to my personal email at : Please note that my disclaimer applies to all revisions.

Section regarding "Motivations for Homebrewing - Is it worth it?" has been updated.

VER 1.10

Section on chemistry has been updated with new photos and information on expected yields.

Section on safety updated with notice from Department of Homeland Security.

There is a new chapter on an EPA Border 2012 funded project for the Ambos Nogales border region (see Homebrewing in Mexico).

Ver 1.11

This version now includes an expanded discussion on soap titrations, and additional information regarding safety and permits.

Suggestions regarding safety are welcome and may be forwarded to my personal email at : Please note that my disclaimer applies to all revisions.

Ver 1.14

Updated motivations section slightly.

Ver 1.15

Final Version posted; includes fixes on most broken links, and minor updates throughout.

Last Updated on April 2, 2013