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Does anyone have any information regarding the practicality of using a heavy duty diesel generator to run your light system of an indoor aquaponic system? (the models made to run continuous/off grid)

I have access to an almost unlimited supply of used cooking oil from a major food chain.

 

With a biodiesel processor such as the BioPro 380

http://www.springboardbiodiesel.com/biopro380/biopro380

 

Does anyone think this makes sense to say, power up your lights for 16 hours/day?

(Lets say for example you are attempting to power 10kw/hour)

 

Any feedback would be apreciated!


Dino

 

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Dino any diesel generator will burn biodiesel. If you truly have an unlimited supply of oil and the time to wash it and convert to biofuel I say go for it. keep in mind even if your oil is free you will still spend 1.50 gal because of the additives of alcohol for the process. If this is cheaper than your electric then you are in business. I have installed alot of gensets but never as a primary when electric is available. It just doesnt pencil.
Factor in the cost of fuel filters too. Every engine I have seen goes through twice the filters when using biodiesel.
Interesting points. Im in the midst of working up a business plan for an indoor aquaponics facility. Hydro is obviously a big factor in cost of doing business so I wanted to look at alternative options to perhaps offset the hydro cost. time and labour to purify the product is also a cost needed to be looked at as well as the additives. thanks for your opinions!

Yeah that should work. Here is a mythbusters that uses cooking oil to run a car around. you have to filter it and I guess that is quite the job. It works and that is what matters.

As long as you can produce your bio diesel for cheap enough it is very possible.
There are a few thing that worry me about that website after a few minutes of looking around:

"you can make it remarkably easily for a cost of 90 cents per gallon (assuming August 2010 commodity prices and a free source of veg/animal-based oil)"
Then on another page:
""Biodiesel is expensive." -Buying biodiesel at a fuel station costs approximately $5 per gallon (July 25, 2008) - roughly the same as the price of petroleum diesel fuel. But biodiesel can be produced by an individual using a BioPro processor, often for less than $1.25 per gallon!"
And also:
""Biodiesel requires a conversion." -This confusion is a result of the old practice of burning straight vegetable oil in older diesel engines, which does require a vehicle conversion. Biodiesel does not require a conversion and can be mixed in any proportion with petroleum diesel fuel."

Not to say that this product is not good. Just run your numbers over and over to make sure you are taking the cheapest route. In the end it is hard to say if paying .90-1.25  extra per gallon or possibly more is worth the better quality fuel. If the generator is modified to run unprocessed bio diesel and it uses 10000 gallons of fuel and then breaks. Would the cost savings of $9000-12500 allow you you get 2 more generators?

As for your second question on lighting, that depends on your growing area and chosen crops. In colder areas if you are getting free fuel, you might want to use electric heaters. In a greenhouse the best electric heater is HID lighting as long as your crops can handle the intense light. In the winter in colder areas to produce your crops faster for market HID or some other supplemental lighting is essential. But you could almost remove that cost in summer and possibly replace it with cooling costs, depending on your weather, greenhouse, ect. You are from Canada right?

If you like people sticking it to the man kind of documentaries i suggest you check out this wonderful little nugget. These guys make their own coconut biodiesel in a 3rd world country! Makes you wonder what we could do...

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-coconut-revolution/
Dino, I would not run generator continuously. It would be better to use generator to charge a bank of batteries and run your systems like a solar system with the exception that the gererator is charging the batteries. This could cut the generator run time by up to 90%. Note you will only know what savings you will get by sizing your system.
Rick is right on when you consider how much power needed vs what the gen set puts out. In response to Glen not sure where that number came from due to Genset consumption is based on make model and Kilowatts or Horsepower so the .4 number is not accurate for all models.

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