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BYOE: Using the Biodiesel Process as a Lab Activity to Reinforce Chemistry Concepts

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies: Bring-Your-Own-Experiments 2

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.318.1 - 26.318.14



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Paper Authors


Roger A Beardsley PE Central Washington University

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Roger Beardsley is an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology at Central Washington University, Ellensburg WA. He teaches classes in Thermodynamics, Fluids and Heat Transfer, among others. His professional interests include renewable energy, including biofuels.

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BYOE: Using the Biodiesel Process as a Lab Activity to Reinforce Chemistry ConceptsThis BYOE demonstration presents a simple process converting vegetable oil intobiodiesel (also referred to as Fatty Acid Methyl Ester, FAME). The conversion ofvegetable oil into biodiesel is a spontaneous and relatively robust catalyzed chemicalprocess that can be easily adapted into a lab experiment using inexpensive equipment andsupplies. The basic chemistry of the biodiesel conversion process is outlined in aworksheet format to allow students to calculate reactant and catalyst amounts. Studentsthen measure out the chemicals and process their own individual batch in a discardedPET soda bottle. The lab activity can also be prepared ahead and performed as an in-classdemonstration by an instructor as part of a presentation.

Beardsley, R. A. (2015, June), BYOE: Using the Biodiesel Process as a Lab Activity to Reinforce Chemistry Concepts Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23657

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