Final Report: Biodiesel Learning Laboratory to Facilitate Campus Sustainability Initiatives across SUNY
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AbstractThis pilot project studies one of the challenges associated with high levels of food waste that contain used cooking oil. For example, at The College at Brockport, an amount close to 900 gallons of used canola and soy bean oil is collected for disposal per month during the period of regular session. The disposal of the used cooking oil presents environmental burdens requiring an oil recycling company to haul away the waste from the campus. The Brockport campus does not have an operating biodiesel production facility, and disposal of the waste is one of the environmental concerns presented across the SUNY campuses. To investigate these concerns, a team of faculties and students in Rochester area collaborated for the development of an in-house biodiesel processing lab at Brockport campus. The project was successfully conducted at Brockport campus over the period of the spring 2014 to spring 2015, spanning three semesters. During the project period, this project led by a team of students from Brockport has participated in the college level research and development competition for the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute's 2014-2015 Student Earth Day Competition. The team's project was awarded with the first place from the competition. The study /project provides some valuable information for future biodiesel processing lab project(s) for other SUNY campuses, and, also potentially for other colleges across the U.S. In this report, the scope of the information is focused and limited to providing basic safety and production manuals from this specific processor within this project, since building a biodiesel processing facility can vary widely according to particular regional environmental and local jurisdiction regulations. For the summary, the investigators agree that the importance of the safety of the participants must be considered as the priority and such priority cannot be overemphasized when taking on a project of building an in-house biodiesel processing facility. We proposed a three-part approach to develop and expand a SUNY system that will include students who are interested in campus sustainability programs. Our results can be extended onto other SUNY campuses, Brockport local community and other colleges across the nation. Our approach is to: Design and establish a biodiesel production facility on campus at Brockport through the work of student research assistants. Develop manuals and the production specification details for future operations and expansion throughout SUNY campuses-the production process requires a period of "trials and errors" before it can become stable and consistent. Plan to frame next stage with development of further technical guidelines of expanded manual for error-prone production processes. Develop a plan to apply and assist the production design and process for other interested SUNY campuses to establish on campus biodiesel facilities with their setups and productions.