Wisconsin Students Collaborate on Biodiesel Fuel Reactor

Madison Area Technical College (MATC) dedicated its new biodiesel reactor, built in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) to produce motor fuel blended from waste vegetable oil and methanol. The reactor will be used to educate MATC students in the production, use and quality control of biodiesel fuels and the maintenance of biodiesel-fueled engines and vehicles.

“As high gas prices create growing interest in energy alternatives, training the workforce for emerging industries like biodiesel is one way MATC can help fuel our economy,” said Dr. Bettsey Barhorst, MATC president. At a news conference and dedication ceremony at MATC’s Truax location in Madison, students and faculty from the two colleges demonstrated how the reactor purifies cooking oil recovered from a restaurant’s deep fryer and blends it into a fuel that can operate a diesel-powered vehicle without engine modifications. UW-Madison engineering students designed and built the laboratory-scale reactor at the request of MATC’s Diesel Equipment Technology associate degree program. “The goal is for students to synthesize and study various biodiesel fuel blends,” stated project director Ken Walz, an MATC chemistry instructor. “The reactor will allow students to experiment with different feedstocks, catalysts, and processing temperatures to optimize biodiesel production. Students will then characterize the fuel that they produce, to measure various properties such as specific gravity, viscosity, flash point, and oxidative stability.” “Biodiesel is a key part of state government’s strategy to promote clean, renewable energy alternatives that will generate jobs and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels,” said Wisconsin Agriculture Secretary Rod Nilsestuen. “Our university and technical college systems are important partners in that effort.”
Previous articleSolarcoating Machinery Receives Orders for Plant and Coater
Next articleSecretive Solar Start-up Aims for Silicon Production

No posts to display