UBC Undergraduate Research

An investigation of biodiesel application in the UBC boiler Azucena, Ralph; Chiang, Kevin; Cheng, Tony


The formal report discusses biodiesel as an alternative fuel source that can be used in UBC to realize a more sustainable source of energy that can help direct the university into a more eco-friendly community. The university is currently one of the leaders in sustainable development and establishing the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) building in UBC, which is the greenest building in North America, shows the university’s commitment to sustainable living. The report examines the social, environmental and economic aspect of implementing biodiesel as the main fuel source for the UBC boiler. The production of biodiesel and its price using waste cooking oil are also analyzed to confirm the feasibility of biodiesel use in UBC. By taking into account the cost effectiveness, energy density and availability of raw materials, it can be determined how economical and reasonable it is to use biodiesel in heating oil to heat up UBC buildings. The capital cost to establish the infrastructure and equipments needed for the system that uses heating oil also needs consideration. Furthermore, to establish biodiesel as the best renewable fuel source, biodiesel’s environmental and social impact need to be more evident. Biodiesel should be able to convince the community that investing in biodiesel is worth it. Using the data gathered from several research papers, it is evident that biodiesel has major advantages in terms of reducing carbon emission. However, with the current heating system established in the UBC boiler, it is hard to justify the cost of switching to biodiesel since the heating system has been in use for several years. Consequently, overhauling the heating system requires huge capital that will never be recovered when biodiesel is used. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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