How much does Biodiesel cost if I make it myself or buy it?
"How much does biodiesel cost?" is probably one of the questions that I get asked the most often. That and of course - How do you make Biodiesel?
The cost of biodiesel can be calculated by anyone that knows the Recipe for making biodiesel and knows what the cost of the raw materials are.
If you can do the calculations for biodiesel titration then you should have no problem to calculate the cost of Biodiesel.
We use a set recipe for making biodiesel and we know the ingredients for this recipe. So by taking the cost of the ingredients used we can easily calculate the cost of biodiesel.
How much does Biodiesel cost? Here is an example of the way you can use to calculate how much it will cost. Your cost per gallon might differ because you can get your raw materials cheaper, or for free if you are lucky, but the maths stay the same. Just adjust the prices to suit your circumstances.
Waste Vegetable Oil - $0.50 per Gallon
Methanol - $1.00 per Gallon. We use 20% Methanol per volume of Waste vegetable oil.
Caustic Soda/Lye - $5 per Pound. The amount of Lye we use depend on the results of your biodiesel titration and the Waste Vegetable oil that you use. For clean unused vegetable oil you will use 1/4 ounce of Lye per Gallon of oil. With Waste vegetable oil you can expect to use about 1/3 ounce per gallon.
Ok, so here is a Formula you can use to calculate how much does biodiesel cost. The cost of 1 Gallon of biodiesel can be calculated as follows:
The price paid for 1 Gallon WVO + the price paid for 1/5 Gallon of Methanol + the price paid for 1/3 Ounce of Lye.
$0.50 + ($1.00 x 20%) + ($5/200 x 1/3) = $0.71
Remember that this mixture of WVO, Methanol & Lye will yield about 80% Biodiesel & 20% Glycerine.
That means that this mixture of 1 & 1/5 of a Gallon will yield 80% biodiesel or only 0.96 Gallons Biodiesel.
So 71c will give us 0.96 Gallons of Biodiesel which means that the cost of one gallon of biodiesel works out at 74 cents.
This is a very simplified calculation and we still need to add to this 74 cents the cost of labour, the cost of the electricity used in the process, provide for the capital cost of the equipment, the cost of washing the biodiesel, etc.We can also subtract from the 74 cents the profit you can make from selling the byproduct - Crude Glycerine or you can process it further and turn it into soap and sell that.
This should give a rough idea of how to calculate the cost of biodiesel.
No two people will get the same results and this is intended only as a rough guide.Play around with it and adjust it to suit your unique circumstances.
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