Nikki Carlson Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Havre High School automotive students are getting a taste of what's to come in the future of automobiles. Merle Hoerner's automotive technology class created biodiesel fuel Tuesday, Jan. 13, using oils normally found in kitchens turkey and vegetable oils. Hoerner said biodiesel fuel could be made using either animal or plant oils. Around Thanksgiving time in 2008, he went to Saddle Butte Custom Smoking to get his deer meat made into sausage. He asked Saddle Butte if the business could save their turkey oil for his class which was going to make biodiesel fuel. He filled enough huge jugs with the turkey oil it should last through his next class year. Students were instructed to collect an oil of their choice, as well. Students then filtered it, added some potassium and methanol, blended the mix for 15 minutes in a blender then put the mixture into the beakers to wait for the reaction to occur. With the turkey-based biodiesel fuel, the solid waste of the oil drifted to the bottom of the beaker. A lye residue collected on top of the concoctions. The recipe Hoerner's class used is listed below: Biofuel mini test batches equipment: Electric scale or beam balance; Old blender (no longer used for food processing); Half-pint mason jars; Lye; and Methanol. Steps to complete a mini test batch: 1. Measure 2.1 grams of lye on a scale. 2. Measure 120 milliliters of methanol into a half-pint mason jar. 3. Thoroughly mix the .35 grams of lye with the 120 milliliters of methanol until it's dissolved. 4. Measure 600 milliliters of WVO into a separate 1/2 pint mason jar. 5. Add the dissolved lye/methanol (sodium methoxide) to the jar of oil. 6. Place the blender agitator over the jar opening and screw on the cap Ring. 7. Flip the jar upside down and place on the blender motor housing. 8. Turn the blender on medium and mix for 10 to 15 minutes. 9. Turn the blender off, remove and flip the jar right side up. 10. Let the jar sit undisturbed for 30 to 60 minutes while waiting for the reaction. If there is a distinct separation (light thin biodiesel at the top of the jar and dark thick glycerin at the bottom), the reaction was successful. If the mixture remains a homogenous liquid (no separation), the reaction failed because of insufficient lye. In this case, repeat the process with a new batch of oil, increasing the lye amount by 0.1 grams (the second test will total .45 grams), until a successful separation occurs. Calculate the amount of lye needed for the biodiesel reaction by multiplying the final amount from the mini test batch by 10. For example: if a successful mini test batch requires .55 grams of lye and is multiplied by 10, it equals 5.5. This hypothetical batch of WVO would require 5.5 grams of lye per liter of oil. On Friday, Jan. 16, HHS senior Eric Hansen tested out a turkey and vegetable oil batch that had been sitting on the counter for a few days, turning into biodiesel fuel. Hansen used accutint indicator paper to check the acidity levels of both fuels, with number one being too low and 12 being too high. Both tested at a seven, according to the product's indicator. "The reaction occurred like it's supposed to," Hoerner said. "So vegetable oil and turkey oil make about the same quality of diesel fuel."