Biodiesel Series- An Engineered Project

This is the third post in a series of four posts to be released every Thursday in August. The previous posts are linked; post one and post two.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is currently supporting a biodiesel project of their very own. The seven member student team is currently seeking out additional funding to expand their project to a large batch process. The entire paper on this project can be read here; this is a snippet from their abstract.

The Biodiesel Project is a new ESW-RPI project. Its long term goal is to assemble
everything needed for a biodiesel production facility that will convert waste vegetable oil into usable quantities of biodiesel for RPI and the surrounding area. Biodiesel is a cleaner and more renewable form of standard petroleum diesel and has a huge advantage over other alternative fuels. It can be used in any standard diesel engine without expensive modifications or design changes and burns cleaner than any petroleum or fossil fuels. Used vegetable oil, which is often treated as a waste product and discarded in large volumes by dining halls and restaurants, can be converted into biodiesel by chemically mixing it with Sodium Hydroxide and Methanol in a process that creates biodiesel. The process is not new and has a history of success. 

Similarly, Vermont has teamed up with State Line Farm to produce biodiesel on their own property. Below is a video of their project.

Fleets have started to switch to biodiesel due to its fiscal along with its environmental benefits. Hoover, a city in Alabama, has begun the switch for its municipal fleets, which can be seen in the below video.