Choosing the best biofuel kit involves comparing prices, features and capabilities of various biodiesel processors designed for home brewers. Start by deciding how many gallons of biofuel you want the system to yield and how much time and effort you want to invest in making biofuel. The answers to these questions will help determine an appropriate budget for selecting the best biofuel kit based on your needs.
The best biofuel processor kits on the market feature a fumeless, enclosed design with a cone bottom for cleaner fuel, fire-resistant construction and a built-in heater. Other features for cleaning the system and easy repairs are also valuable. Some configurations require welding for assembly. Look for an all-in-one biofuel kit that can process, wash and dry the fuel in one tank.
Biofuel kits range in price in 2011 from less than $500 US Dollars (USD) to more than $6,000 USD. In general, the cost of a biofuel kit increases with increasing yield. Also, the greater the yield, the larger the processor will be. Size becomes an important consideration for those who intend to brew their own biofuel within tight space constraints.
A biofuel kit that is insulated for advanced heat retention will keep operating costs low. A built-in heating system is worth the extra cost for converting biofuel into a better-quality product. The alternative to a built-in heater is an electric hot water heater attachment.
The market offers a range of biofuel kits that can produce anywhere from 24 to 230 gallons per batch of biofuel energy within 8 to 14 hours. On the small end of the spectrum is a biodiesel processor that yields 24 gallons a batch and is ideal for school projects and home brewers. On the large end of the scale is a biodiesel processor that yields 230 gallons a batch and is intended for trucking companies and small businesses.
If some assembly is required, the biofuel kit should include easy-to-follow directions, step-by-step photographs and online support. The basic process of making biofuels involves refining organic oil, such as soybean oil, with alcohol, lye, mixing and heat. Petroleum-based oils are not suitable for biofuel production.
The cost of making your own biofuel has been estimated to be approximately 70 percent less than the cost of petroleum-based fuel. Many home brewers recycle used vegetable oil from local restaurants to save even more money; however, biofuel converted from used vegetable oil is not approved for automotive use by the governing agency in the U.S. Biofuel that is sold at gas stations in the U.S. is converted from soybean oil in compliance with the applicable federal regulations; this translates into reduced savings.
Brewing your own biodiesel will maximize the anticipated cost benefits of switching to a non-petroleum based product. There are also environmental benefits to using biofuel. They are reduced air pollution, independence from foreign oil and savings on fuel costs. The disadvantages of biofuel are mainly limited to large-scale production facilities that incur substantial set-up costs.