$600 System Helping Farmers Produce Fuel & Feed

John Davis

Some farmers in Canada are having trouble getting biodiesel to run their farm equipment, so they’re trying to make their own.

According to this story in the Owen Sound (Canada) Sun Times, a group of farmers got a $10,000 grant and they were able to make do-it-yourself biodiesel refineries for about $600 each, which they recently demonstrated in their home county of Bruce County in Ontario.

“Biodiesel is still hard to get at the farm level. This allows us to use our own home oil seed crops to make it . . . (and) still have livestock feed left over,” said project leader John Gillespie, a beef farmer from the Ripley area who heads up Bruce Biodiesel.

Bruce Biodiesel draws its members from the Christian Farmers Union, the National Farmers’ Union and the Bruce County Federation of Agriculture.

The system, which can be put together for about $600, uses four discarded hot water heaters, some piping and a few pumps to produce diesel fuel from oil extracted from soybeans or canola. Some commercially produced chemicals, such as methanol and sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide, are needed to remove the glycerine from the oil.

In addition to getting the fuel, the farmers are able to take the leftover meal and feed it to their livestock.

While it’s good to have the big refineries making the biodiesel available to a wide audience, it’s also nice to see folks able to take part in biodiesel on their own.