UBC Undergraduate Research

An investigation into the feasibility of producing and using biodiesel from waste grease at UBC Figueira, Alicia; Boldt, Nathan; Dorion, Ethan; Bellary, Gautam


In alignment with the goals of sustainability at UBC, outlined by Alberto Cayuela’s presentation on March 6, 2012, an evaluation is being conducted on the potential of manufacturing and use of an alternative fuel called biodiesel. Presently, UBC is using petroleum diesel, B5 blend (5% biodiesel and 95% petroleum diesel mixture) and regular gasoline to fuel the campus maintenance and operations vehicles. Additionally, there is a significant amount of waste grease that UBC is producing through various food outlets on campus. The proposed project that is being evaluated will address these two issues and ultimately head in the direction of sustainability and reduced environmental impact. The focus of this evaluation is the feasibility of producing biodiesel fuel from the waste grease produced by UBC, based on a triple bottom line assessment. The triple bottom line assessment is a criterion for evaluating the environmental, social and economic impacts of a product. A thorough qualitative and quantitative analysis is conducted at each step of the product’s life. The environmental impacts, economic feasibility and social acceptance are evaluated and compared to conclude the concept’s practicability. The result of the triple bottom line assessment concludes that biodiesel is a superior alternative fuel to diesel petroleum. Environmentally, biodiesel produces less amounts of harmful emissions compared to petroleum diesel. In its 30 year life cycle, biodiesel produces 86% less emissions compared to those of petroleum diesel. In addition, it produces less cancerous compounds, which reduces the health risks of burning fuel. Economically, despite high capital costs, manufacturing and using biodiesels at UBC is feasible, if creative measures are taken. Finally on a social scale biodiesel is looked upon positively by the majority of people and a learning opportunity is created through student involvement. For UBC, an alternative fuel that reduces harmful emissions is the next step toward total sustainability. When the standards of the ASTM are met, biodiesel can be used in UBC’s campus vehicles with a seamless transition. For these reasons, it is recommended that UBC implement the manufacturing and use of biodiesel made from waste grease for campus vehicles. 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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