How to Make Biodiesel Fuel out of Horse Manure

by Angie Mohr

Making biodiesel out of horse manure is a do-it-yourself project that is challenging but rewarding. As it decomposes, horse manure creates a gas called methane that can be harnessed and used as a heat or power source. All gasses, even natural ones, must be handled carefully and by someone with experience.

Collect the horse manure. Soiled horse bedding can be used for the biofuel creation process without having to separate out the manure. The straw bedding will decompose along with the manure and the urine will add nitrogen to the process, speeding up the decomposition.

Add the soiled bedding to the collection tank portion of the biofuel converter until the tank is half full. Do not pack down the bedding to allow water and air to flow into the open spaces and speed up decomposition. Add 10 gallons of water to the tank. Seal the lid onto the tank securely.

Stir the contents of the tank every 4 days for the first 2 weeks, then leave lid closed. Methane will begin to develop in 3 to 4 weeks. The pressure of the methane will register on the valve attached to the tank lid. When the methane level reaches the pressure recommended by the converter's manufacturer, it is ready to use.

Open the valve between the collection tank and the storage tank when the methane pressure reaches the appropriate level. The gas will flow into a storage tank, leaving the decomposed horse manure solids behind. The solids should be removed immediately from the collection tank and the tank should be pressure washed and allowed to air dry. The solids can be used as compost but should not be spread directly around growing plants as it will burn them. Once composted, the nitrogen level in the solids drops enough that the the compost can be used on all flowering and fruiting plants and trees.

Attach the delivery hose valve from the methane storage tank to the machine requiring fuel. Ensure before doing this that the appliance is designed to handle alternative methane sources and not just natural gas. The biofuel is now ready to be used. A new batch of biofuel should be started in the empty tank.

Tip

  • check To keep a constant source of fuel available, purchase two setups and stagger the biofuel production.

Warnings

  • close Read several books on biofuel production before attempting this process.
  • close Review the instructions that come with the biofuel converter thoroughly.
  • close Store the converter and finished biofuel away from the house and in a building with consistent moderate temperatures.

Items you will need

About the Author

Angie Mohr is a syndicated finance columnist who has been writing professionally since 1987. She is the author of the bestselling "Numbers 101 for Small Business" books and "Piggy Banks to Paychecks: Helping Kids Understand the Value of a Dollar." She is a chartered accountant, certified management accountant and certified public accountant with a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Wilfrid Laurier University.