Statistics reveal that about one third of the food products worldwide remain unused, which is an unapologetic waste of our precious resources, especially when a large number of people across the world is living an underprivileged life. However, scientists are working on ideas that can make productive use of these precious resources for the betterment of humanity as well as environment.
Recently, scientists have clicked on an enterprising idea that involves the conversion of these foods into biodiesel. It may seem unbelievable to many, but that is what scientists have been aiming at and planning to use wasted foodstuff to produce sustainable fuel. Apart from freeing up landfills and decomposition sites, the advantage of regenerative energy resource in form of biodiesel would be immense. What is more delighting is that you can make it at your home using simply tools.
How to transform unused foodstuff into biodiesel
Take one liter of waste vegetable oil and after removing food particles and other visible debris in it, heat it to 120 degree Celsius. This will remove excess water from the oil. When the sounds of popping and spitting stop, remove the oil from the fire and let it cool. Now take an equal quantity of fresh vegetable oil heat it at 55 degree Celsius.
Now take 250 ml of Methanol and add 4 grams of Lye or NaOH. The dissolution process of NaOH in Methanol is a bit tedious, as it takes about ten minutes to dissolve fully. The resulting mixture will be Sodium Methoxide.
After the oils have cooled down sufficiently to about 60-degree temperature, pour them into an empty and dry plastic bottle. Pour in Methoxide to the mixed oils and close or plug in the bottle and then shake it vigorously for about fifteen minutes. Leave the bottle to settle down the mixture for a few days. After that, you will notice two different layers of oils inside – one dense and the other light. The top lighter layer is Biodiesel that you can transfer into a separate container.
The next step involved in the process is washing. Pour in the biodiesel in a bottle and add about 500 ml of water to it. Gently rotate the bottle for about one minute and then bring it to upright position. If done correctly, the water will separate from the oil immediately. Now you will notice the murky water that you can pour out of the bottle. Repeat the process at least five times, shaking the bottle more vigorously every time you do so. When you will do it for the last time, you will see clear water separating from the oil, which means clear biodiesel is ready. Now keep the bottle in an upright position for a couple of days more to separate biodiesel completely from the water. Scientists call the process of removing the water completely from the oil drying. Biodiesel is now in its purest form and ready for use.
The making of biodiesel involves al lot of heating of the oils. You must ensure safety while dealing with them by wearing proper clothes and taking precautions. The process of making Sodium Methadoxide is in particular very dangerous. Since this involves working with chemicals, you should do it away from cooking places and if possible away from the house. Methanol is very volatile and tends to burn without any visible flames. So be extra cautious with it. Also, cover your mouth and nose to avoid inhalation of dangerous vapors.
Creating biodiesel at your home might sound too fancy to be true. However, scientists are working on an idea that will help homeowners transform waste foodstuff into biodiesel. By doing so, you will not only save some bucks for yourself, but you also contribute towards conservation of the environment.