One of the hardest things about backyard biodiesel is wading through all the crap on the internet and finding the good information. To make things harder, backyard brewing techniques are constantly evolving. What was cutting edge two years ago may have been put aside as too problematic (like the Magnesol dry-wash – it’s difficult to filter out), and today’s new techniques still have kinks (like the Purolite dry-wash – preventing resin compaction). There is the solid peer-reviewed biodiesel community website that will give you everything you need to get started for free, but when entering more advanced homebrew issues (acid pre-treatment, methanol recovery, GL 1-day drywash) we’re at the mercy of the mob at the infopop forums.
Enter biodieselSMARTER, a DIY full-color ‘zine “for biodiesel homebrewers by biodiesel homebrewers.” Now in its second year, it’s only $10 for a subscription and it’s jam-packed with real stories about real folks doing real homebrew. Issue #5 is a full 40 pages, and its homebrew roots show with the 100% recycled paper, 100% wind-power, folded 8.5 by 11″ format.
It’s based around case-studies, and the only fault I find with it is that a couple of times it shares cool things that folks are doing, but doesn’t give enough detail to reproduce what is happening (the living filter for wash water.) Most of the time however, the information is great (ethanol treatment for methanol exposure, sizing a purolite resin column, and Dr. Dan’s TDI death row analysis.) I especially like Spanking Ester, the question and answers column from Leif at Piedmont Biofuels: 5% prewash chemistry, efforts to scale up the GL 1-day method, anti-gels for biodiesel, etc. etc.
But don’t take my word for it, check out what Kumar and Lyle have written, and then send in your $10!
P.S. I just got my #3 and #4 back issues. Full-sized and beautiful. I now remember why I didn’t subscribe last year: the old ad-free version was $25 a year. The new, smaller version has a few ads, but it’s a measly $10 for a great ‘zine. Every biodiesel brewer should have a subscription.