Session S24b (Monday, 2pm, Thomas 201)

P286: Project for engagement in sustainability: A student-constructed biodiesel processor

Greg Sirokman (Wentworth Institute of Technology, USA)

Biodiesel is a potentially carbon neutral replacement for diesel fuels. The synthesis, purification and testing of such a fuel provides an opportunity to introduce students to an application of chemistry that ties multiple chemical principles to a project with immediate relevance to other areas of study.

Environmental science students at Wentworth Institute of Technology developed a project to design, build, and operate a biodiesel processor that would supply fuel to the Institute’s Facilities Department. A series of biodiesel synthesis laboratory exercises were also introduced in the introductory chemistry course to engage students directly in this project.

This presentation will detail the challenges and successes of the project which ultimately came to involve a team of students and faculty from environmental science, mechanical engineering technology, and electromechanical engineering. The project’s success can be measured by the fact that a new lab dedicated to research in biodiesel technology is currently under construction.

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