Beginner’s Biodiesel Recipe:
Trial Biodiesel Formula
Recipe for Biodiesel Newbies

Make your own biodiesel

This biodiesel recipe is a great place to get started if you are interested in making biodiesel at home.

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This biodiesel formula is designed to allow you a try at the process before taking the plunge and investing in home biodiesel kits.

Yes, there is every reason to expect that you can succeed at making biodeisel yourself, safely and in enough quantities to supply all your diesel vehicles and home heating requirements for under $1 a gallon (25c a liter).

But it makes sense to have a go with a scaled down biodiesel formula first, that you can do at home right now with easy to get ingredients and basic kitchen equipment!

Safety Precautions for Using this Recipe for Biodiesel

Methanol is a poison which can cause blindness or death if inhaled, absorbed through your skin, or ingested. Cartridge respirators will not prevent you breathing it in, so use in a well ventilated area. Methanol is also highly flammable.

Lye (caustic soda, NaOH, lye) is highly caustic. It can cause severe burns if it touches your skin, and death if ingested.

Precautions when making bio diesel:

• Wear appropriate clothing - long-sleeved shirt, full shoes and trousers, chemical proof gloves, apron, and face shield or eye protection.

• Take care to avoid inhaling any vapors given off by the home made biodiesel process.

• Have running water at hand to rinse off any splashes.

• Keep kids, visitors and pets away from biodiesal ingredients and processing equipment.

Here’s a scaled down version illustrating the process for making bio diesel using a trial biodiesel recipe:

This method of making bio diesel is perfectly safe if you follow the commonsense safety rules outlined above.

The Biodiesel Recipe

Chemistry and cooking have a lot in common. You measure and mix the ingredients and wait for a reaction. So if you can follow a cooking recipe you can follow a recipe for biodiesel!

Biodiesel recipes take vegetable oil and thin them for better fuel combustion and easier intake into your diesel engine.

Biodiesel byproducts include glycerin, which can be used to make soap!


This kitchen scale biodiesel recipe works only works using new vegetable oil. You wouldn’t want to make all your biodiesal this way as it wouldn’t be cost effective!

But it’s a great way to see if making bio diesel is a good alternative for you before you take the plunge and invest in a biodiesel kit.

Recipe for Biodiesel - Ingredients

• 1 liter of the cheapest new unused vegetable oil you can find.

• 4 grams or more of Lye (caustic soda or sodium hydroxide [NaOH]). Just look in the drain cleaners section of your supermarket. Just check the contents to make sure it is the right stuff.

• 250 ml methanol. Just look in the gas line antifreeze section of your Auto supply or hardware store.

Biodiesel Recipe – Equipment

• Two clean, dry 2 liter plastic bottles.

• A funnel that fits the plastic bottle.

• A dry 600 ml (1 pint) glass jar, with a lid that provides a tight non-leaking seal, to mix the methanol and lye.

• A 500 ml metric measuring cup for measuring out the methanol

• Metric scales or a teaspoon measure.

• Cooking thermometer.

• Plastic safety gloves.

• Plastic lab apron.

• Face shield and/or eye protection.

Biodiesel Recipe – Procedure

• Choose a very well ventilated area to work.

• Get your ingredients and equipment together.

• Put on your safety gear.

• Measure 250 mL (a little more than a cup) of room temperature methanol into the one pint jar.

• Measure 4g of lye (about half a Teaspoon) and add to the methanol. Screw the lid on tightly.

• Agitate the jar (ensure there are no leaks!) until the lye is completely dissolved. Don’t panic - it will heat up as the reaction takes place. This is normal. Leave for at least 10 minutes. You have now made methoxide.

• Heat the 1 liter of new unused vegetable oil to 140°F (60°C) only. Do not overheat!

• Use the funnel to pour the warmed oil into the dry 2 liter plastic bottle.

Ensure you have good ventilation before you open the methanol/lye mixture as harmful gases will be released.

Do not breathe in the vapours!

Use the funnel to pour the methanol/lye mixture (methoxide) on top of the oil.

• Screw the lid down tightly on the 2 liter bottle and shake vigorously for 20 seconds.

• Allow an hour for the contents to separate – at the top will be the honey colored biodiesel and at the bottom will be the darker glycerin layer.

• The biodiesel will be cloudy at first. Leave it in a cool, dark place for a few days to clarify.

• Take off the lid and use your thumb to gently drain off the biodiesel into the other dry, clean 2 liter plastic bottle (use a funnel), leaving the darker glycerin behind.

The biodiesel probably contains some soap (from the glycerin) so the next step is to wash it.

Wash 1: Gently pour 500 ml of body temperature water into the biodiesel and cap tightly.

• Very gently rotate the bottle end to end a few times for 30 seconds and stand it upright again.

• Once the water and biodiesel have separated, uncap and use your thumb to drain the water off (it will be cloudy as it contains soap).

Wash 2: Repeat all the steps of Wash 1 but this time gently rotate the bottle for 1 minute.

Wash 3: Repeat Wash 2.

Wash 4: Repeat Wash 2 but shake the bottle a little harder.

Wash 5: Repeat Wash 2 but shake vigorously this time!

Your fresh biodiesel will be very cloudy and unpromising to look at. All it needs is a day or 2 to settle and dry and it will clear up and be ready to use!