Grace College Students Convert Used Vegetable Oil to Biodiesel
For the second consecutive year, Grace College’s General Chemistry II students successfully converted used vegetable oil from Alpha Dining to biodiesel. In addition to the general chemistry students, the students in the Introduction to Chemistry course also made biodiesel this semester.
Biodiesel is created from vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled restaurant greases. The clean-burning fuel is known for being biodegradable and producing fewer air pollutants. “This science covers multiple issues all at the same time. It’s so important to teach our students about our role in the stewardship of the environment God has given us,” said Dr. Chad Snyder, chair of the Department of Mathematics and Science at Grace College. “This can be done through recycling, but in a context they might not have known before: chemically modify food industry waste for alternative energy. Additionally, this project emphasizes peer collaboration as students must participate in certain synthetics duties to make this fuel formula work.”
According to Dr. Snyder, the biodiesel project highlights the relevance of chemistry and organic chemistry principles discussed in class. It also demonstrates how clean the biodiesel fuel formula is in comparison to other fuel sources. “Converting used vegetable oil into biodiesel is just one example of how chemistry makes a difference in helping our environment,” said Dr. Snyder.