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Author Topic: old biodiesel tank, brown sticky goo?  (Read 36404 times)
guydewdney
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« on: July 08, 2015, 08:55:50 AM »

I have a tank with a diesel pump on it for my red diesel for tractors etc. Originally it was a storage and dispensing tank for bio. When i bought it, there was a tiny amount of bio left in there, and the pump worked fine.

i filled with 1000 litres of new red diesel.

now the pump is slow to start, like its sticky, and one of the tractors is suffering from sticky injection pump problems.

i added an inline 10" type filter.

any ideas on how to rremove or prevent the sticky brown goo?
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Countrypaul
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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2015, 11:24:36 AM »

The sticky brown goo is likely polymerised Bio - a sort of varnish! Originally varnish was made by heating veg oil such as linseed to get it to partially polymerise (along with various additives etc.) 

It is my understanding that agricutural Red now contains a significant amount of Bio (20%?) and one resultant problem is that if kept for too long develops bugs that lead to thickening and deposits being formed in the Red. I believe that the Red should be used within 6 months (sumer and winters grades may be available and vary I don't know) This information needs checking though.

If you have removed most of the Red, you can try dissolving the brown goo with either Acetone or iso-Propyl Alcohol (IPA). It may also dissolve in petrol or possibly, but less likely paraffin, in all cases it may need several attempts /sessions. If it is a plastic tank make sure any solvent is not going to adversely affect the tank before you start.  With a solvent you may get most but not all of it out, requiring you to try caustic as well.

You do not say what the tank is made of, but you could treat the goo with caustic soda and effectively convert it to soap which should wash out with water again several session may be required, each would mean leaving the goo to soak in caustic solution for some time.

Good luck...



You may want to ask on the vegetableoildiesel.co.uk web site for some other ideas.
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nominous
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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2015, 04:05:20 PM »

I recently cleaned a bosch pump that had been on veg for some time and internally had a very sticky coating over everything.
Left in stale petrol (which had some engine oil, some veg oil in it too) for a couple of days, it came off with light agitation.
Without that petrol it was a scrape off job.

YMMV
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brackwell
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« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2015, 05:09:20 PM »

This bio stuff certainly clogs up 2 stroke in chain saw. B nuisance.
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guydewdney
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« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2015, 10:24:51 PM »

Thanks. Tank is very heavy, and has poor access. Its a rotationally moulded tank. Polyethelene? Dunno.


From the association of moulders

Polyethylene (Low Density)
LDPE, LLDPE

Polypropylene
PP

Ethylene Vinyl Acetate
EVA

Polyvinyl Chloride
PVC


thanks
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Countrypaul
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« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2015, 11:38:05 PM »

Thanks. Tank is very heavy, and has poor access. Its a rotationally moulded tank. Polyethelene? Dunno.


From the association of moulders

Polyethylene (Low Density)
LDPE, LLDPE

Polypropylene
PP

Ethylene Vinyl Acetate
EVA

Polyvinyl Chloride
PVC


thanks

Do you know what make it is as that might tell us what its made from.

As we don't currently know what it is made from, I would start with either Parafin or petrol to try and dissolve the brown goo. Petrol should be more effective but obviously will cost more and you may have kero/parafin around anyway which makes it an easier starting point.
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guydewdney
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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2015, 08:47:14 PM »

Polyethelene i think if its the same as my other tank. Its made by QSS who are defunkt.


so, any suggestions as what to do with 900 litres of red diesel?
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julian
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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2015, 11:17:50 PM »

If the goo is water soluble, its likely to be glycerol.


Is it even soluble in the red diesel?  Diesel will be a non polar solvent.

If its soluble in diesel, then, likely, it will pass through everything without too much bother, but I kind of sounds like you are getting precipitation?

Do you still have that centrifuge?  If it's falling out of solution then running the fuge on the whole tank may be a simple solution
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julian
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« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2015, 11:26:35 PM »

PS.

We were given a load of contaminated bio once, that was unsuitable for road use.

It blocked my boilers nozzles repeatedly even with a 10 inch filter.  I was worried that I'd have 1000ltrs of trouble, however, once it had been left a while, whatever was causing the issue settled out (I assume) and was no longer drawn off.

If you tank has just been filled, simple settling may remove the issue (or at least relocate it back down to the bottom of the tank!)

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Countrypaul
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« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2015, 11:34:12 PM »

One option may be to try filtering it through some hardwood shavings. This would certainly drawn out any glycerol and soap present, but should also take out most of the polymer present.

Another option would to be to thoroughlymix the red with caustic soda solution and leave it  for a while to settle. This would convert the bio/polymer to soap which would largely remain in the water/ emulsion layer. The red diesel above it should then be usable in your tractor. How much Bio was left in the tank before the red was added?
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guydewdney
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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2015, 08:36:40 PM »

I dont knwo how much, maybe 20 to 50 litres ata rough guess. Which is why i wasnt bothered.

ill get some pictures of the goo.

ill try lifting the pickup pipe too.

where do i get caustic from?
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julian
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« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2015, 08:44:24 PM »

Caustic - drain cleaner. Sodium hydroxide.

Remember you need a way of drying the diesel afterward.
I know oil and water separate, but thats different from the diesel being dry.

I don't like getting fuel wet, so it wouldn't be my first choice of options.  Make sure you test on a sample before committing to 100s of litres.
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Countrypaul
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« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2015, 12:01:58 AM »

If there was 50L of Bio present when you added the red, how much red did you add? If you added say 2000L of red and have used half of it, then we can assume there is 25L of Bio left in the red and goo. If so you may be looking at 3-4kg of caustic being needed to completely remove the Bio and varnish.  If you only added 1000L and have 900L left, then that will be most of the bio and you may be looking at upto 8kg of caustic, in which case buying it from a hardware store as drain cleaner may work out expensive (5 a kg), but getting it from a chemical supplier or ebay supplier may be cheaper (20 for a 25kg bag for example), alternatively a local bio producer may be able to let you have a few kg at cost.

You may need to dry the red afterwards as Julian mentions, though this is not normally a major problem with diesel (much more so with Bio or veg oil).
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guydewdney
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« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2015, 08:33:43 AM »

Added 1000 litres, have used about 100  but difficult to say.
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Countrypaul
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« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2015, 09:55:18 AM »

Guy,

Just re-read the thread and noticed you indicate that you mention a pickup pipe. You have thought about this earlier, but if teh pickup pipe is drawing from the bottom or near the bottom of the tank then it is likely to draw up the goo, try siphoning off 25 litres of so from the top of the tank and see what that is like. It may be that the problem is only the bottom 100 litres or so is the problem and as Julian said allowing it to settle may mean everything above is fine and can be used easily.
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