The Problem

With gas prices constantly fluctuating and a lack of alternative energy, many businesses and individuals are dramatically affected by even a small change in gas prices. For example, my school, Nation Ford High School, has to make budget cuts to make up for the money they have to spend on gas. Although the state provides some gas for the schools, it is not enough to fuel the buses on a regular basis. Therefore, the school is responsible for purchasing the rest of the diesel that is needed. As gas prices increase, the school is required to divert money from other areas and organizations in order to afford gas.

Plan of Action

With help and investment of my father, one of my close friends and I have developed a center that can produce bio diesel in 250 gallon batches. His father was nice enough to clear a lot for us to build our project on their farm and both of our fathers helped us afford the initial investment that was required to purchase the tanks, pumps, and plumbing components. There were an unmentionable amount of steps required to complete our project, but a very brief overview includes; construction of each processing tank, plumbing, wiring, and oil collection and transport. Other than the pumps, we have created everything in our processing center. We created the main processing tanks (three 250 gallon, one 500 gallon)from recycled chemical transport containers and mostly using components found at Lowes or Home Depot, have developed a fairly complex processing system. Although we just finished the final touches on our system this weekend, we plan to collect enough oil this week to create our first batch this upcoming weekend.

Project Updates

Building construction and wiring of building completed. The new fluorescent lights we have installed will allow us to work at night for once, so there will no longer be a rush to get to the site immediately after school to have a few hours of day light left.
Additionally, our filter proves to be working well. However, the moisture content of the waste vegetable oil has created a froth that plugs up the filter and will need to be further examined to determine the best course of action.

Successful test of pre-filter for waste vegetable oil. The newly installed filter we have been working to build proved to work perfectly, filtering all of the food particles left in the used cooking oil. A sample of the filtered oil showed no signs of any remaining food particles and we are now fully ready to make our first batch, awaiting chemicals for the processing.

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