Making Biodiesel in the Classroom

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1 Making Biodiesel in the Classroom April Lanotte Big Sandy Schools

2 What is Biodiesel? Biodiesel is made from vegetable oil or animal fat (triglycerides) reacted with methanol or ethanol and a catalyst (lye), yielding biodiesel (fatty acid methyl or ethyl esters) and glycerin as a by-product Fatty acid chains are removed from the chemical reaction by a catalyst (KOH), then bound with methanol, creating biodiesel. Glycerol, the remaining part of the triglyceride, is a byproduct of the reaction, which is later removed before use.

3 Why Biodiesel? One gallon of petroleum diesel fuel, once combusted, releases pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere. Biodiesel does not contribute extra CO2 into the atmosphere. Biodiesel reduces particulate matter emissions by at least 55%, VOCs by 55%, and CO by 45% compared to fossil diesel. * (different sources have provided different figures I ve taken the lowest of the figures) Biodiesel is lower in sulfur reduction in SO2 in the atmosphere (which contributes to acid rain). Jet fuel: 3,000+ ppm sulfur; US off-road diesel: 500+ ppm; US regular road diesel ppm; US ultra-low sulfur diesel: 15 ppm (2004 US Transportation Research Board report) Biodiesel can be made from just about any kind of fat or oil.

4 Who s Using Biodiesel? Airlines (Virgin Atlantic, Continental Airlines, Air New Zealand, and Japan Airlines) Eight total US airlines that operate out of LAX have also signed a deal to use more than 1.5 million gallons of biodiesel a year for their ground vehicles starting in 2012.

5 Biodiesel Use cont Commerical trucks Personal diesel trucks, cars, SUVs Farm equipment

6 Home biodiesel-kit

7 Biodiesel set-up cont

8 Biodiesel set-up part three

9 Biodiesel Lab Materials needed: Gloves, goggles, aprons Buret set-up and funnel (for titrations) Scale 125 ml Erlenmeyer flasks Graduated cylinders 100 ml, 250 ml beakers Half-pint jars with lids (2 per group) Weigh boats Scoop Pipets Vegetable oil (various sources, including virgin oil and used vegetable oil) 0.1 M KOH Isopropyl alcohol Phenolphthalein Bromophenol Blue Methanol 0.01 M HCl

10 Biodiesel Lab Activities Activity One: Feedstock Titration Titration activity to test for free fatty acids within the feedstock sample Used to determine amount of KOH that will be needed in biodiesel production Activity Two: Biodiesel Production Making biodiesel using virgin vegetable oil Activity Three: Advanced Biodiesel Production Making biodiesel using used vegetable oil (WVO)

11 Biodiesel Lab Activites cont Activity Three: Soap Titration Calculate the amount of soap created when making biodiesel Less soap is better!!! (highway quality biodiesel production standards conduct 19 different tests soap analysis is not one of them. However, soap content can affect many other fuel quality parameters) Activity Four: Quality Control Option #2 Methanol test dissolving biodiesel into methanol any remaining triglycerides won t dissolve in methanol and will settle to bottom of the flask Activity Five: Testing Biodiesel Comparing Heat of Combustion (biodiesel vs. diesel) -- using a set-up similar to a calorimeter, burn samples of fuel-soaked candle-wicking set under aluminum cans with water inside for 5 min. compare mass of fuel burned and change in water temps. Activity Six: Testing Biodiesel #2 Engines --Use a small diesel-powered R/C engine to test your fuel, or make small steam-powered, diesel boat engines

12 Activity One: Feedstock Purpose: To determine the amount of Free Fatty Acids within feedstock sample Materials Needed: Gloves, goggles, aprons Buret set-up and funnel Graduated cylinder Scale Pipets Feedstock samples (used vegetable oil) Phenolphthalein Isopropyl alcohol 0.1 M KOH Titration

13 Activity Two: Biodiesel Production from virgin Purpose: to convert unused vegetable oil into usable fuel Materials Needed: Gloves, goggles, aprons Weigh boat Scoop 250 ml beaker 100 ml Graduated cylinder Virgin vegetable oil Half-pint jars with lids Methanol KOH flakes SAFETY: Methanol, KOH, and the resulting methoxide are nasty chemicals. DO NOT INHALE or GET ON CLOTHING vegetable oil Procedures: 1.) Lab Partner One: In one jar, pour 30 ml of methanol and put lid on. 2.) Lab Partner Two: Take weigh boat and metal scoop measure out 1.05 g KOH. 3.) Add KOH to jar of methanol. Replace lid and shake until flakes of KOH are fully dissolved. (The jar will get warm from the exothermic reaction!)

14 Activity Two cont 4.) Measure 150 ml of vegetable oil into a 250 ml beaker 5.) Add oil into the jar of dissolved KOH and methanol (methoxide) 6.) Replace lid on jar (make sure it s on tight!!) and place tape around seal. DO NOT INHALE! 7.) Take turns shaking the jar vigorously for a total of 10 min. 8.) Allow the solution to settle you will begin to see the separation of the biodiesel and the glycerine within a minute or two (the glycerine will settle to the bottom). YOU VE MADE BIODIESEL!

15 Activity Three: Soap Titration Purpose: To test the quality of biodiesel (soap is a by-product of unreacted Free Fatty Acids and KOH) Materials Needed: Gloves, goggles, aprons Buret set-up and funnel 125 ml Erlenmeyer flask 250 ml beaker 0.01 M HCL Isopropyl alcohol 1% bromophenol blue

16 Activity Four: Methanol Test Purpose: Another way to test biodiesel quality (FFA will not fully dissolve in methanol) Materials Needed: Biodiesel sample Methanol 50 ml Graduated cylinder 500 ml beaker

17 Sources for Biodiesel Info. Journey to Forever site: This is a great site with more information than any one person could use this site has crosslinks with all sorts of other sites, and has many references for you. This US Dept. of Energy site contains lots of technical information about alternative fuels, and in this section, about biodiesel urally/intheclassroom/level3.asp?i=9 School Power Naturally site: website that includes many different alternative energy lessons, including analysis of burning fossil fuels

18 More sources The National Biodiesel Board website contains many links to different biodiesel sources Piedmont Biofuels, the original developers of Carolina Biological s biodiesel lab, offers college-level training, explanations, etc. about biodiesel, along with industry processes and testing info. and education links and lessons. :US This site is a good source for purchasing biodiesel-making supplies

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