Lister Engine Forum

Alternative fuels => Bio-diesel Fuel => Topic started by: captfred on May 22, 2008, 11:18:39 AM

Title: old methanol - any good?
Post by: captfred on May 22, 2008, 11:18:39 AM
Several years ago a guy on island obtained a 55gal (44gal or 205litre) drum of methanol - he's asking 200bucks for the drum.  Does anyone know how to test if it's any good?  Have plenty wvo and would like to try making biodiesel but don't want to buy a drum of haz-mat needing disposal.

Any suggestions are, as always, greatly appreciated.

Cheers, Fred
Title: Re: old methanol - any good?
Post by: mike90045 on May 22, 2008, 02:31:08 PM
If it has not been sealed well, it could have soaked up moisture from the air. take a sample, and see if it burns cleanly & completely, or if there is residue left in your dish.   Are you using it for veg oil conversion process, or engine fuel ?
Title: Re: old methanol - any good?
Post by: captfred on May 22, 2008, 09:09:24 PM
Thanks mike, I'll try burning a sample first and see what the results are.

 I would like to try some biodiesel production - NaOH is plentiful - the problem has been getting the methanol.

Cheers, Fred
Title: Re: old methanol - any good?
Post by: biobill on May 23, 2008, 03:11:58 AM
  Unless you got lots of water in it, I don't think you will see any left in the dish. It'll cook off as the meth burns. If the drum has been outside and rain has collected in the rim, it's possible for it to get sucked in when the sun goes down (and the barrel goes BONG), but if the seals are intact and the bungs are tight, you're probably OK. Can you get a sample and try a micro-batch?
Title: Re: old methanol - any good?
Post by: rcavictim on May 26, 2008, 04:25:33 PM
Perhaps one could test burn a small measured sample and allow the exhaust to flow over a cold surface (like a refrigerated piece of glass, say the botom of a pyrex kitchen bowl containing ice water) to view the amount of water vapor present as condesate.  Try the experiment with new, pure alcohol first and note the amount of condensate, then repeat the experiment with a similar small sample volume of the alcohol suspected of possibly containing excess water.  Would the polluted sample not reveal itself by creating more condensate?
Title: Re: old methanol - any good?
Post by: greasy_burger on May 26, 2008, 09:11:37 PM
I agree if the drum was sealed and kept from the weather it should be fine, last year I recieved a 10 yr old barrel from my employer and it made great biodiesel:)

Title: Re: old methanol - any good?
Post by: Doug on May 27, 2008, 02:32:56 AM
The stuff never goes bad if its dry and sealed.

Its also toxic so no microbes can eat it in high concentrations.
Title: Re: old methanol - any good?
Post by: oliver90owner on May 27, 2008, 07:54:05 AM
Take a sample.  Add anhydrous copper sulphate and agitate.  If copper sulphate turns blue, there is water present.

Regards, RAB
Title: Re: old methanol - any good?
Post by: captfred on May 30, 2008, 02:02:45 PM
The guy is delivering  the drum tomorrow, local grocery store doesn't carry anhydrous copper sulphate,  but I bet I can get some from the local high school chem lab. ;D

Thanks, Fred
Title: Re: old methanol - any good?
Post by: oliver90owner on May 30, 2008, 04:17:11 PM
captfred,

No one 'keeps' anhydrous copper sulphate - you make it!  Heat hydrated copper sulphate gently to remove the water.  It will change from blue to white - if it goes brown, you heated it too strongly.  Goes from white  back to blue when it re-absorbs water of crystallisation.

Copper sulphate, which used to be in all the chemistry kits umpteen years ago, is now on the list of nasties - poisonous if you ingest it.

Regards, RAB
Title: Re: old methanol - any good?
Post by: captfred on May 31, 2008, 12:45:39 AM
Thanks RAB

Will dig up some copper sulphate and give it a whirl.

Check out http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/ interesting story on  WVO thieves in the Seattle Area.

Cheers, Fred
Title: Re: old methanol - any good?
Post by: mike90045 on May 31, 2008, 05:04:39 AM
Easy to get copper sulphate, at box hardware stores, root killer drain cleaner, read the list of ingredient.
Title: Re: old methanol - any good?
Post by: macs on March 23, 2010, 02:35:42 PM
Use a Hydrometer to measure the specific gravity.  Pure methanol has a sp. gr. of 0.792 at 68.0 F  The higher the reading, the more water is present.
Title: Re: old methanol - any good?
Post by: oliver90owner on April 16, 2010, 08:20:57 AM
Err, thanks for the update but it has prolly been used a long time ago.......

RAB