A clean, renewable alternative to diesel that can be produced from a variety of vegetable oils such as these soybean plants. more

The Diesel Crew.

Starting from the left: Tom Voss, Angus Richeson, Adam Alexander, and Mike Lubben. more

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Diesel Crew members Mike and Angus disassemble a chemical reactor for parts. Reactor donated by Pfizer. more

Microwave Reactor

The Diesel Crew has implemented a microwave reactor to achieve high levels of waste cooking oil conversion to biodiesel. more

Latest Updates:

Dewatering System

May 15, 2014

The team's final report was finished and is now available on the downloads page.

Senior Design Night

May 10, 2014

The Diesel Crew presented their finsihed biodiesel reactor.



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Diesel Crew Progress

Spring Semester Updates

May 22, 2014

Reactor prototype permanently decomissioned.


May 15, 2014

The team completed the final report. The download is available in the downloads page or by clicking here.


May 10, 2014

The Diesel Crew presented their reactor for Senior Design Night.



May 7, 2014

The control system is installed and wired up to all of the system components.



May 6, 2014

Construction nears completeion as the Diesel Crew works around the clock to finish.



May 5, 2014

The microwave plug flow reactor is finished and tested.


May 4, 2014

The control system design is finalized in LabVIEW (click image for larger view).




May 2, 2014

Baffles were installed in the continuous stirred tank reactor to help ensure adequate mixing.



April 28, 2014

The methanol recovery system is completed.



April 25, 2014

The biodiesel purification design is finalized. AMBERLITE BD10DRY ion-exchange resin was chosen for the polishing column.



April 20, 2014

The cascade separator for catalyst recovery is built.



April 2, 2014

Construction of the waste cooking oil dewatering system is completed. Initial testing gave promising results for the efficiency and speed of water removal.



March 22, 2014

Subway® generously donated a 1250 Watt commercial grade microwave that had stopped functioning. With a few minor repairs, the microwave is ready to be used in the final reactor design.





February 21, 2014

5 liters of waste cooking oil were prepared for larger-scale testing in the microwave reactor.



February 19, 2014

FMI QV lab pump and control unit acquired for the reactor system.



February 18, 2014

New website published.


February 7, 2014

Further experimentation is performed in lab creating biodiesel with heterogenous catalyst.



February 7, 2014

Domestic microwave is acquired, work begins on the construction of the reactor.



February 3, 2014

Testing in the advanced organic synthesis lab continues.


Interim Updates

January 25, 2014

Analytical testing performed on the fatty acid standards.




January 20, 2014

HPLC testing standards are acquired for the analysis of biodiesel.


January 12, 2014

Testing is performed on Calvin's new Anton Paar Monowave 300 Microwave Synthesis Reactor.



January 8, 2014

Initial testing of CaO catalyst for its plausibility as a heterogeneous catalyst for biodiesel production.



Fall Semester Updates

December 8, 2013

Project propasal feasibility study completed for first semester (see Downloads page).


December 3, 2013

Research leads team in the direction of a microwave reactor for efficient biodiesel production.


November 22, 2013

Tom and Adam give a second verbal presentation to the senior design class.

November 11, 2013

First draft of project proposal feasibility study is submitted for review.


November 8, 2013

Preliminary budget analysis completed. Initial estimates project a total cost of $3,500 for the biodiesel reactor.


October 23, 2013

Project poster created for display at Calvin.


October 23, 2013

The Diesel Crew's website goes online.


October 22, 2013

Project brief complete for industrial consultant.

October 18, 2013

Class presentation of project done by Angus Richeson and Mike Lubben.


October 15, 2013

Research continues on the filtration and reactor components of the generator.


Septmeber 15, 2013

The Diesel Crew is formed and work begins on devloping a biodiesel generator.


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