The Barrel / Settling Tank
Starting with the barrel itself, WVO is fine filtered into this and stored.
My barrel was purchased from eBay. They're actually recycled shipping containers, so that adds to the green value of what we're doing.
My release tap is positioned approximated three-quarters of the way down the barrel, but it's not strictly necessary. The important things to remember when positioning your tap are as follows:
I would recommend having the tap a couple of inches or so above the base of the barrel, so any water or stray fats can sink safely below the level of the tap. However, my arms couldn't reach that far inside my barrel so I positioned it as low as I could... very much a case of do as I say, not as I do.
From the image above you'll see that I soldered a small length of pipe on my tap, together with an elbow pointing downwards. As I've said before, it's important not to draw your WVO from the surface of the barrel, but ideally an inch or so below the surface (because some fats float, etc). The elbow fitting ensures that oil is never taken from the surface. And as this is a fine filtering tank (as opposed to the settling tank) the oil near the bottom of the barrel should be free of nasties down to 1 micron.
Sludge / Water Drain
Any stray fats or water should sink to the bottom of the barrel and stay there, so it's nice to be able to remove these. With that in mind I decided to add a drain facility.
I made this using 15mm copper fittings. A tank connector was drilled into the bottom of the barrel and to this was connected to a 15mm pipe. At the end of this I placed a full bore release valve (remembering to make sure it was in the closed position). For added support I glued a block of wood and a pipe clip.
Don't forget a lid. If your barrel comes with one, great. If it doesn't, make one. A barrel without a lid is an open invitation to dust and flies, spoiling you attemps to get nice clean oil.
“Being generous of spirit is a wonderful way to live” - Pete Seeger
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