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justjamesjust 06-24-2011 05:03 PM

Mobile Centrifuge Filtration
I was wondering if anyone has any experience with mobile centrifuge filtration that DOES NOT involve dragging barrels around the U.S. attached to a trailer or cargo rack etc.

I have an idea of what I'd like to do and it goes something like this:

1 2001 ford E-350 superduty van (already have)
1 180 watt P.V. Panel (already have)
2 100Ah AGM deep cycle batteries (already have)
1 solenoid/isolator for charging AGM's from alternator
1 dieselcraft or other CF (still researching)
1 Wvo Transfer pump (hand or electric? still researching)
1 CF Pump/motor? still researching.
1 35 gallon tank (stock) for diesel (already have)
1 35 gallon tank for WVO
1 shutoff valve
1 3 way switch valve
1 CF waste reservoir (WWVOR, a few gallons would most likely be sufficient)
1 Relative Humidity indicator

Test WVO for using "sunlight clarity" test, "Crackle" test, and relative humidity indicator. (electric sensor RH indicator measures water molecules in any given medium, air or oil. This sensor could be used before pumping and also as an indicator for the CF during filtration. May not be as effective with emulsified water....any opinions?)

Wvo from the vat with either a battery or engine coolant driven Heat Exchange to help the WVO transfer pump along. This pump can be the hand driven type (harbor freight) or an electric. I'm very much open to ideas and opinions on this. I hear electric pumps will die much more quickly than my arm.

A prefilter at the suction hose tip. Opinions on micron level? 100? 50?
I know this will make any work on whatever is doing the pumping more difficult. (preheating the oil prior to pumping from the vat may negate the added difficulty of a 100 micron prefilter.)

From the WVO vat, the oil will go straight to the WVO tank installed underneath the van.

During transfer and filtration, the WVO tank will be shutoff from the rest of the fuel system.

The WVO tank may be sumped and a pump installed in the sump part of the tank (bottom)

Once the Wvo is transfered to the Wvo tank, the CF can be fired up. I am very much leaning away from gravity fed, and towards pump driven. Open to opinions (please see "fantasy world" below before commenting)

The pump will suck from the bottom (sump area), run the VO through the CF and back into the WVO tank. My understanding is that it takes multiple passes and that 10 gallons WVo (obviously depending on initial oil quality) may take 4 passes, requiring 1 hour.
(Key point: Driving to the restaurant will heat the WVO tank to around 140-170 correct? So, once at the restaurant, any WVO pumped into the tank should heat up a bit from the oil still in the tank being hot. I know it may not heat to 150 unless the van is still running, but that's IS an option)
The CF pump could be powered by our deep cycle batteries AND/OR by the van's alternator/battery system. I seem to remember a pump that uses 10amps at 12volts. (sorry no specific details) We will also have a xantex 1000 watt true sine 97% peak efficiency inverter so ac/dc makes little difference.
If it's 10ah per 10gallons to clean we're looking at 30ah. We have 100ah of usable juice (50% max discharge) and based on our travel habits, we won't be be needing to filter oil everyday for weeks straight. (see "fantasy world" below)
Once the CF is full of junk and no longer filtering efficiently, a 3 way valve can be switched to divert the crap spinning out of the CF to a Waste Waste Vegetable Oil Reservoir (WWVOR) upon powering it down. This waste stream may have some other valuable properties i'm looking into (any ideas guys/gals)

Now this is where I need some input, The trick it seems with CF is that you have to open them up wipe them down and do another pass. But if you power them down, I hear they spit up a bunch of crap that, without diverting, will pour back into your clean stream. So, what if you switched the flow to the WWVOR right before powerdown thereby cleaning out some of the junk, then powered it right back up, and switched back to feeding the WVO tank giving it more room in the bowl to clean? If this is possible it might allow for just a single, manual CF cleaning at the end of the 30gallons.
So, if this approach is possible, as soon as the relative humidity indicator says OK, AND/OR it has run through a length of time and series of cycles that I have predetermined to be sufficient for most oils of the quality and caliber I would collect, I would do the final powerdown of the CF and then open the WVO tank to the rest of the fuel system and switch over to the V3 system.
Clay gave me some excellent advice, and I will be PRETESTING before ever doing this in an installed van system. Basically he said if your donaldson is clogging quickly, you know you're not doing it right.
So my plan is to create this system in a mock setup before installing to see what it takes. However if there is a wealth of knowledge on this forum or out in the interweb, it may assuage some of my fears. If someone can tell me they've taken 10 gallons of DECENT oil and run it through a dieselcraft for an hour and gotten GOOD oil and this is verified by the community at large, I won't worry. I am a skeptic though, so I'll probably run the tests anyway, good to get input though ::::needmoooooreinput::::::

"Fantasy world"

We pull behind "Mom and Pop's Eat-a-ria", see a WVO vat and take a peak in and pull a tiny sample (is this really bad?...I'm not sure how unethical it might be.) Looks great! little or no crackling, looks clean and clear in the bottle, so we drive around front. Walk in and speak to the manager.
"We'll buy a big meal, appetizers, entree's, desert and drinks, and leave a nice fat tip for the server if you'd let us take some of your WVO for our van. (add a touch of kindness and charm) They say Ok, so we order take out.

We drive around back while the foods being cooked and start pumping the WVO into the tank, by the time our food is all ready, WVO is pumped and in the tank. We drive back around into the parking lot, climb inside our cozy van, and watch a movie off our computers through an LED Projector, projecting on a screen that pulls down behind the driver and passenger seat. We lay in bed watch the movie, eat, power up the CF and by the time the movie is done we have full tummies, full tank, gotten our entertainment for the week, AND given something back to the restaurant. (We don't really ever eat out)
Final step. We drive off into the sunset.

What I like is that when going into town we can do almost all the things we're there to do "errand-wise" at one time and with no hastle, in fact it would feel comfortable and fun. When we go out to eat, we can be "working" on Veg stuff and watch a movie at the same time.

Final key point: Stealthability is major for us. We bought the van from a guy who had a franchise in a nationwide 24 hour emergency cleaning/property damage service. The exterior of the van is unaltered save for the solar panel and vent (not huge AC unit) on the top. Looking at the outside of the van there's really nothing much that would raise suspicion and we want to keep it that way. Being able to sleep almost anywhere unnoticed is a BIG plus to us. Think major cities, downtown areas after 5pm and before 7am, parking lots, etc. Barrels hanging from the outside on cargo racks or trailers is OUT.

So, whadda ya think?

greasyX 06-24-2011 05:22 PM

Build a tank for the roof of your van. I would use existing racks and build it 48x96 (full sheet of aluminum) and about 6 inches tall, this would be 120 gallons. This would keep mass close to van, and allow sun to heat oil, as well as a easy way to gravity feed to centerfuge of your choice. It would be easy enough to plumb, be discreet and could empty into the "clean" tank. I have seen tanks built under bunks in vans. Let me know if this is the train of thought you are looking for...............greasy:cool:

Clay 06-24-2011 06:11 PM

I think that's the longest post I have ever seen on here. :lol:

justjamesjust 06-24-2011 08:58 PM

ironically enough
:) It was pretty long wasn't it clay.
From all the forum reading I've done it seems that every single minute detail you omit, someone will jump on it and then it's more writing to clarify. I just thought I'd get it all down in one shot.

GreasyX. NO barrels and tubs and tanks visible on the outside of the van. I have the electricity, I don't want to use exterior space BESIDES the underneath the van. I had thought that very thing though. I took 120 degree reading off the top the van. The temperature is almost there. I like the idea, I REALLY like the idea....using the sun to heat your veg...but alas, no go.

Keep it comin'

justjamesjust 06-24-2011 09:10 PM

sorry greasy
I reread it and I realize now you meant "ceiling" the interior aspect of the roof, right? I like that idea as well, but with the bed and frame, I can sit on it and have just enough room before I hit the ceiling, so on the ceiling is a no go as well. Sorry for the misunderstanding

Clay 06-24-2011 09:12 PM

I would get an enclosed trailer and put the same logo on it as whats on the, stealthy again.

Darwin 06-25-2011 12:21 AM

No offense but your comment about sitting down with the lady and watching a movie while your CF is spinning made laugh. I can not imagine running one of those things in the back of a pick up let alone inside a van, even while driving. I have one and they are noisy as hell, not to mention messy. I now use a gravity fed bowl centrifuge and it is a thousand times better IMO. I have used it on the road all the way down to mexico and it works great. If this set up works out for you post some pictures!

justjamesjust 06-25-2011 12:46 PM

Hey Darwin,

thanks for the input.

Your gravity fed setup. how did you do it?
What's your exact setup?

I have a ton of space and clearance under the van, my whole idea was to have the CF and everything UNDER the van. wonder if it's too noisy even for that?

I'm not opposed at all to a gravity fed setup, just not sure where to put it considering our requirements.

greasedltn 06-25-2011 04:24 PM

If you put the CF under the van, how hard will it be to open it up and clean when it's needed?

muns53 06-25-2011 05:04 PM


Originally Posted by Clay (Post 31282)
I would get an enclosed trailer and put the same logo on it as whats on the, stealthy again.

x2 - that's a great recommendation. Keep all your veggie goo away from the beautiful interior of your van - spills will happen, which would likely ruin your day/week/month/year. You can pick up a nice white, small double-axle trailer on Craigslist for cheap - like a 5'x10' or 6'x12' or something for $1K-$1.5K. Then, you can put a couple of totes in there (one for clean, one for dirty) with a gravity-feed CF on an inverter. Your van will tow 5K pounds (4K for the oil if both totes are full and another 1K for the trailer) like it wasn't even behind you. You'll have still have room in the trailer for some more "stuff" like tools, extra filters, parts, bikes, hiking gear, skiis, whatever. If you get somewhere where you can make a big oil score, you can stockpile. Then when you end up somewhere where there's no oil to be had, you can tap into your surplus.

You could put solar panels on the top to keep the batteries topped up, but you'll probably need a beefy electrical connection to the van to charge them - others have already recommended you get a super-heavy-duty alternator. And you probably want some kind of plug-in power to take advantage of grid power when/if needed if the van's gear itself is not sufficient.

Good luck!

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