Nashville Auto-Diesel College (NADC) instructors Thomas McBrearty and Jeffrey Tinsley recently built the school its own biodiesel processor. This task was accomplished in just four days. The processor’s first use was for a biodiesel seminar presented to approximately fifty high school instructors and two hundred NADC students.
NADC, a NAFTC National Training Center, invested about $1200 to build the processor, which makes up to 25 gallons of fuel per batch. McBrearty and Tinsley designed and constructed the processor, with NADC’s Research and Development team helping with the fabrication of its metal cart. The design includes numerous innovations, such as using the water heater mounted on the side of the processor to not only heat the main reactor tank, but also to pre-heat the water going to the water-wash spray nozzles. A diesel fuel filter and water separator from a diesel engine are mounted on the processor and used to filter out the final product.
The first few batches of biodiesel were made from new vegetable oil. In the future, used fryer oil from the college’s cafeteria might also be used. The biodiesel will be tested in diesel engines on a dynamometer to determine what, if any, power loss is present. The engines will then be torn down to see how the biodiesel affects different engine components. Having its own biodiesel processor will allow NADC’s students to gain experience with this rapidly-growing alternative fuel before entering the workforce.