ISTC scientists are working with the University of Illinois Dining Services to convert the University's used cooking oil into fuel. It is estimated that about 2000 gallons of grease from the U of I will be converted into biodiesel per year. This 100% biodiesel is being used to power a standard diesel Ford 250 pickup truck. Chemical additives are added to the biodiesel to increase the biodiesel's performance at Illinois winter temperatures. Researchers will evaluate the performance of the biodiesel under various conditions as compared to traditional petroleum diesel, and seek ways to improve or innovate upon the production process.
On November 9, 2005, scientists from ISTC visited Mahomet-Seymour High School (MSHS) to provide a demonstration of biodiesel production for the Biological Science Applications in Agriculture (BSAA) class. Waste cooking oil from the school's cafeteria was used to produce the biodiesel. On Tuesday, November 15, biodiesel produced from the cafeteria's waste cooking oil was put into a MSHS bus which is currently in use for transporting students. ISTC scientists will continue to work with the MSHS students to produce biodiesel from waste cooking oil and evaluate its performance in the district's school buses. Check the MSHS web site for pictures of the students in action and for updates on this project.