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Positive things about biofuels.

 
Posts: 51
Location: Ohio 5b6a
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I have been playing with biofuels for some time and here are a few tricks that I have found useful.  We use a push lawn more with a bag for green chop for our chickens and cows. I get these mowers in scrap all of the time and usually I have them running in a few minutes.  Push lawn mowers are known to pollute to the max.  They burn up to a pint of oil and hour.  I have come up with a couple solutions. We use vegetable oil for oil and ethanol for fuel.  I drill the jets out until it runs well and go .001 more.  When using drill bits to make the jets bigger I use a finger drill so the hole doesn’t get side pressure and get to big.  I have found that the mower never even gets warm running it for ten minutes at a time.  Heat is the biggest problem for air cooled engines.  Ethanol pulls the heat out during phase change from liquid to gas.  The oil stays clean because the ethanol burns so clean.  On cold day sometimes I have to prime with just a couple drips of gasoline.  I was told ethanol would eat the aluminum and rubber parts, but if you keep the fuel dry I have had no problems for the last 14 years.  

Our next step is figuring out how to get the government to let us make fuel grade ethanol without so much hassle.  We currently make ethanol from small batches of sorghum silage we make for the animals.  Feed and fuel from one bucket is a wonderful thing for our small farm.  The people over at the OARDC and the sustainable energy network think it’s awesome, but the feds think I’ll drink too much.  I didn’t know it was illegal to make ethanol until I was at the makers fair and somebody warned me “OARDC”.  So I googled it and found I am not allowed to make a bunch of things I can buy at the supermarket.  It appears that the cost of getting a license may be much more than buying gasoline the rest of my life.  So right now I feed my ethanol to the cows with the silage and buy ethanol from a local supplier.

With veggie oil, or any type of biofuel I always use two fuel caps.  One that the vent is glued shut and one that is not. This will keep the air out during storage so the fuel doesn’t pick up water.  The water with alcohol make acid and will corrode because of the different types of metal in carbs.  The biooils will turn to a thick snotty jelly that will plug the filter.

We use vegetable oil in our chain saw for chain lube. It makes a big difference when cutting around water.  

I made a mini hay baler using a ford power steering pump to run the ram.  We use vegetable oil for the hydraulics.

We have a little tractor that I put a 3.8 hp diesel engine on that we use for planting and pulling things.  I get a kick out of smelling veggie oil when running it.   We also added a 10si one wire alternator to the front of it so we can pull up and charge batteries with veggie oil.

My work car is an old  tdi, and we only run converted biodiesel in it because of the risk of gelling. I use baby food jars half full with each batch and set them out by the garage. This gives me a gauge to know if it’s to cold to run it.  If it gets thick I run normal diesel fuel.

Be carful buying lye, if you buy to much the DEA will be at your farm one hour after you purchased it.  
 
steward
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Christopher Shepherd wrote:Be carful buying lye, if you buy to much the DEA will be at your farm one hour after your purchased it.  

How much is too much?  Asking for a friend...
 
Christopher Shepherd
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Location: Ohio 5b6a
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It was only 4 containers of 1lb.  I can't find it in 40lb bags locally like when I was a kid 30 years ago.  We used to get it in 3 gallon buckets too.
 
Christopher Shepherd
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Here is how we make the silage.  Sometimes we use the hand crank chopper and sometimes we use the motor powered depending on time.  We use buckets and pack it like you would making sauerkraut.  We add a cup of water and a little bit of yeast from last years batch that started from Champaign yeast.
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pollinator
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Back when I only had four sheep, that was how I fed them. It was a really good way to do it.

I think I am going to plant corn this summer and use the kernels to heat my home via my wood pellet stove, then feed the stalks to the sheep.

By the way, sheep LOVE sunflowers too. Obviously the stalks have to be run through a chipper to make it palatable, but it is really nutritious for them.
 
Christopher Shepherd
Posts: 51
Location: Ohio 5b6a
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I never thought of feeding the sunflower stocks.  I bet the cows would eat them.  We shock the corn while still green and feed that till December then start into the silage. We probably put up 20 bushel of corn on the cob for making chicken feed.  Our old line of corn is dark yellow to red.  Makes the chickens lay orange yolks.  We only run 5 cows max.  We have Dexters, 2 cows 1 bull and for the moment 1 steer.  We feed out on average 1 a year.  We have a sunflower that pop up all over the fields here.  They grow good with the sorghum or corn.  I leave them grow and feed to the chickens and make a small amount of oil from them.  I keep squeezing every type of seed we grow and have not found a decent quantity of oil yet.  We built a outdoor wood burner that rockets for about an hour and heats up a huge mass that we pump hot water into the house for heating.  I am always torn between using the corn cobs to heat with or use them for compost filler.
 
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