Biofuels Technology R&D and Procurement
Project Leads: Zoe Merz (President), Nicole Chang (Vice President), Julie Yu (Vice President), Daniel Chow (Finance Lead), Emily Robbins (Logistics Lead), Kristene Mai (Research Lead), Kushaan Bahl (Research Lead), Alexander Zerkle (Outreach Lead), John Tsortos (Scale-Up Lead), Kara Dane (Scale-Up Lead)
Sponsor: Lead Center
TGIF Grant: $7,055.53
Project Theme: Energy Conservation & Efficiency
Project Description: Biofuels Technology Club (BTC) seeks to create a sustainable loop on campus by converting the dining hall waste cooking oil into biodiesel for use in campus vehicles. Combustion of biodiesel produces 78% less carbon dioxide than the combustion of ordinary diesel fuel. In addition, normal diesel cars can use fuel made of 20% biodiesel and 80% diesel (a B20 blend) without any engine modifications. Thus, replacement of 20% of the diesel used on campus with BTC biodiesel would be a convenient way to greatly reduce the carbon footprint of campus, as well as reduce oil waste. In order to put BTC biodiesel in a vehicle, it must meet the stringent requirements of ASTM testing. The BTC Research Team is working towards developing our benchtop-scale reaction to meet these tests, decrease waste, and increase efficiency such that the reaction can be carried out on a larger scale by the Scale-Up Team. The Scale-Up Team manages and modifies a 50 gallon reactor at the Richmond Field Station for optimizing large-scale production of quality biodiesel. The Finance and Logistics Teams enable biodiesel production by acquiring funding, ensuring safety, and managing waste removal. In addition to production of high quality biodiesel, BTC seeks to educate the campus community on green technology through a Sustainability Seminar Series, as managed by the Outreach Team.
Goals: 1) Consistently produce and thoroughly test large batches of biodiesel at our Scale-Up plant.
2) Set up and test our benchtop-scale ASTM test designs.
3) Perform and pass each ASTM test on Scale-Up and Research Team biodiesel
4) Host a public Sustainability Seminar series to educate the campus community on green technology.