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.
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.
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!
The fuel was then tested for how well it reacted using the common 3/27 Biodiesel Conversion Test. It passed extremely well!
Next, the fuel underwent testing for any remaining soap using the Shake-Em Up Test.
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!