Biomass - Creating Bio-Diesel

This detailed chemistry lesson from the U.S. Department of Energy focuses on transforming vegetable oil into biodiesel through a process of transesterification. The process described offers a good model for many chemical reaction processes that are used to produce a viable product.

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Matthew A. Brown
Raymond I. Quintana
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Activity takes about 5 class/lab periods. Additional materials are necessary.

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Necessary materials may need to be ordered ahead of time.

Takes quite a bit of time and effort; in some cases it is a time-intensive activity.

Although the fuel is not dangerous, the idea of making a fuel in a school may not be well received.

Biodiesel bottles will need to be left for a week to separate.

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