Engineering students are taking used fryer oil from two campus dining facilities and converting it into biodiesel fuel for tractors and other off-road equipment. NC State’s Biofuel Research and Implementation Club has partnered with University Dining, the N.C. Solar Center and the NC State Dairy to lead the initiative.
“Our goal is to use the oil instead of paying to eliminate the ‘waste product,’ and to fuel NC State’s vehicles,” said Ben Gillespie, a senior in chemical and textile engineering. “We’re starting to look at using solar heat instead of electricity and maybe a waste oil burner to heat our process. We want to be as energy efficient and renewable as possible.”
According to Clark Dining Hall Manager Scott Curtner, University Dining produces almost 1,000 gallons of fryer oil a month. The club is able to convert about 200 gallons of that into 100 percent biodiesel fuel at NC State’s biodiesel pilot plant. The rest of the waste fryer oil goes to Piedmont Biofuels. With funding from Student Government and the Engineers’ Council, the club hopes to convert more of University Dining’s used cooking oil into fuel that can be used on campus.
Campus sustainability efforts will be displayed on the brickyard Friday, April 20, as part of NC State Earth Day 2012.