Scientists at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) are exploring ways to produce biodiesel from waste streams, such as waste cooking oil. The 100% pure biodiesel produced is being used to fuel a standard diesel Ford 250 pickup truck. ISTC researchers will evaluate the performance of the biodiesel under various conditions and seek ways to improve or innovate upon the process of biodiesel production.
ISTC has produced a report called "Small Scale Biodiesel Production" that gives an overview of the Biodiesel production process on a small-scale basis.
Generally speaking, biodiesel is a fuel for use in diesel engines made from renewable organic resources, such as vegetable oils and animal fats, which are domestically available. Biodiesel burns cleaner (i.e. produces fewer emissions) than traditional petroleum diesel fuel and is biodegradable, making it an interesting alternative fuel option in terms of both environmental protection and U.S. energy independence.
Technically speaking, what is commonly referred to or sold as "biodiesel", is often a blend of pure biodiesel and petroleum diesel (B20, or 20% biodiesel, 80% petroleum diesel, for example). An American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard does exist for biodiesel however (ASTM D6751), and based upon that standard, only pure (100%) biodiesel should be referred to as such. Any blend of biodiesel and petroleum diesel is properly referred to as "biodiesel blend." For more information on the technical definition of biodiesel and the specification for pure biodiesel, see the National Biodiesel Board web site.
For more information on ISTC's biodiesel research, or if you are interested in exploring biodiesel production at your facility or from waste generated at your facility, contact Joe Pickowitz.