New Website Published
February 21, 2014
5 liters of waste cooking oil were prepared for larger-scale testing.
Microwave Reactor Testing
February 19, 2014
FMI QV lab pump and control unit acquired for reactor system.
Calvin College Senior Design Team One, The Diesel Crew, is designing and prototyping a reactor system to convert waste cooking oil into biodiesel. Biodiesel has regained interest in the last decade as an alternative to petroldiesel, with rising fuel prices and an ever increasing push towards sustainability. The exploration of alternative fuel sources is a common interest of the members of The Diesel Crew, which has led to the selection of this project.
The design criteria for the prototype are that the system must be easily portable, simple to operate, and have a relatively quick production time while addressing all safety concerns, such as chemical exposure, flammability and high temperatures. These criteria were chosen on the values of stewardship, transparency and responsibility to end-user that are shared by the team members.
What is Biodiesel?
Biodiesel is an alternative fuel source made from vegetable oils or animal fats. Biodiesel can be used as a direct subsititute for petroleum based diesel fuel in nearly all automobile engines. Typically, a 20% blend of biodiesel in petrodiesel is used known as B20. The use of biodiesel has many advantages:
- Provides better lubrication of engine components extending engine life
- Made from an abundant array of renewable resources
- Produces less harmful emissions of carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter
- No new carbon dioxide is added to the carbon cycle, resulting in a sustainable practice
- Safe, non-toxic, and biodegradable, eliminating the risk of an environmental catastrophe
- A total process cycle time of less than 3 hours.
- Reactor is able to utilize a wide variety of feedstocks
- Transparency in design allowing for easy operation
- Biodiesel produced meets or exceeds all regulatory standards of biodiesel purity
- Reactor is small enough to be wheeled through a doorway or easily dissassembled
- Target cost of under $2,000 with funds provided by donations and the Calvin Senior Design Budget
- Low maintenance design with easily replaced consumables, such as filters
*See the Details Page for a more information about our project.