Customer Spotlight: Warrior Run Middle School Biodiesel Project

Check out this awesome biodiesel project!

5th grade students at Warrior Run Middle School in Turbotville, Pennsylvania participating in teacher Kurt Wertman’s Agriculture and Biotechnolgoy Class learned all about biodiesel this year!

The program was an effort to get the students involved with STEM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) as well as let them get some hands-on experience with making biodiesel.

To get a good understanding of where the oil comes from, the students grew soybeans and discussed how the crops produce soybean seeds that can be crushed to make vegetable oil.
Soybeans grown by Warrior Run Middle School students

Next, it was time to make some biodiesel!
biodiesel production supplies for making biodiesel at warrior run middle school

Vegetable oil, lye, and methanol were procured and the methanol & lye mixture was made up into methoxide. Next, student used small sealable 16 oz water bottles to heat the vegetable oil up in a microwave. A big focus of the project was on safety, so students were required to use gloves and protective eye wear throughout the project.

Methoxide was then added to each students bottle and the mixing commenced!
warriorbiomakingbio

Once everything was mixed, all the small bottles were dumped into a larger sealable container.
Biodiesel produced by Warrior Run Middle Sthool Technology & Engineering Education program

Next came settling! The glycerin slowly settled out of the biodiesel produced and was drained off and removed.
Glycerin settling out of biodiesel made by students at warrior run middle school

After the glycerin was removed it was time for washing the fuel! Some of the biodiesel underwent a water wash while the rest went through a simple dry wash using oak saw dust to remove the remaining soap!
Dry Washing Biodiesel at Warrior Run middle school

The fuel was then tested for how well it reacted using the common 3/27 Biodiesel Conversion Test. It passed extremely well!
A perfect 3/27 Test from Warrior Run Middle School's Biodiesel Program

Next, the fuel underwent testing for any remaining soap using the Shake-Em Up Test.
Warrior Run Biodiesel Program tests their fuel with the shake-em up soap test

Once the fuel was complete, it was added to a diesel powered lawn tractor and the clean, renewable biodiesel helped to mow the lawn!
Filling a diesel powered tractor with biodiesel made by warrior run middle school students

Teacher Kurt Wertman believes the program was a huge success as it introduced students to something they’d never seen before! Biodiesel! He said the kids really enjoyed the project and said that before they started, some of the students didn’t even know the difference between a gas or diesel engine but now they were making a green, alternative fuel , understood how diesel engines worked, and had some real hands on experience working with this great alternative fuel!

In addition to the project, the students learned the basics of agriculture with seed growing and had a chance to see the end result of all the hard work farmers put in (namely a renewable fuel that could fuel the schools tractor!) They also had a chance to work with math in figuring out the formula’s for making the biodiesel, learned some basic chemistry, and also had a lot of fun!

We want to give a heartfelt congratulations to Warrior Run Middle School and to teacher Kurt Wertman for the great work they’re doing in teaching students about this exciting renewable fuel!

Read more about this exciting STEM Education project!
Click here to see Kurt Wertmans Biodiesel Project Page!

About Utah Biodiesel Supply

Utah Biodiesel Supply is an industry leader in offering innovative ways to empower our customers to produce Biodiesel. From free online instructional videos on how to get started making this great renewable fuel to promotional items to help our customers proclaim their energy independence, Utah Biodiesel Supply has it covered. With the widest selection available of Biodiesel equipment, supplies, and promotional items, you're sure to learn something new about Biodiesel every time you visit.

2 comments on “Customer Spotlight: Warrior Run Middle School Biodiesel Project

  1. Kurt,
    Excellent blog project! Great to see these young students encouraged to learn these important topics!! Great diagram of the distribution cycle of plants to earth to water to air!!
    Especially the NITROGEN CYCLE!!!!

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