Before and after photos!
The big pink and metal thing was our old recovered methanol storage unit. It’s been replaced with the much less-bulky unit that you can see hanging on the side of the plant cage. Now, there’s a lot more room inside the plant cage for us work and perhaps to add a translucent settling and storage tank.
We currently settle and wash the transesterification mixture in the reactor, which we think has a hemispherical bottom. Because we can’t see inside the reactor, we have to guess when the biodiesel has separated from the wash or by-product layer. Similarly, we can’t tell when the wash or by-product layer is out of the reactor until we see biodiesel run out. This takes a lot of time and wastes good biodiesel. A translucent cone-bottom tank for settling will help solve these problems for us, and give us a better place to store our product than in the bunch of buckets we keep it in now.