Research Grants/Fellowships/SBIR

From Pollution To Possibility: A Sustainable And Interdisciplinary Solution To Biodiesel Production Wastewater

EPA Grant Number: SU835314
Title: From Pollution To Possibility: A Sustainable And Interdisciplinary Solution To Biodiesel Production Wastewater
Investigators: Crumrine, David , Dixon, Alexander , Lishawa, Shane C. , Vail, Lane , Waichman, Zach
Institution: Loyola University of Chicago
EPA Project Officer: Lank, Gregory
Project Period: August 15, 2012 through August 14, 2013
Project Amount: $14,999
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2012) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , P3 Challenge Area - Water , P3 Awards , Sustainability



The technical challenges of our proposal are to capture the variety of contaminants in biodiesel wash-water with environmentally benign (or beneficial) biological systems and to develop a cost-effective, scalable, and transferable wash-water treatment design for biodiesel producers. The research driving our design process is novel and will innovate renewable biodiesel production by 1) treating industrial waste with scientifically vetted living systems, 2) seamlessly integrating environmentally benign biological wastewater treatment into the industrial process of renewable biodiesel production, demonstrating an alternative paradigm of sustainable ecological industrial design, and 3) creating a suite of scientifically evaluated value-added co-products with all post-production materials.


Loyola undergraduate and graduate students and faculty mentors will design, test, and implement an innovative, cost-effective sustainable system for treating contaminated wash-waters resulting from our student-led Biodiesel Program. This project is original in its approach to treating wastewater on-site with environmentally benign living technologies. It will be the first known attempt to use living machine technology to solve the biodiesel wastewater problem. Our technologies will be transferable and scalable. We will share our design freely and openly through an online manual. Our project will maximize educational benefits of the P3 award. We will educate Loyola students about sustainable water consumption and sustainable solutions, and educate hundreds to thousands of K-12 students through teacher training modules that focus on water quality and sustainable water treatment.

Expected Results:

The primary long-term results of our P3 project will be a) designing and building an environmentally and economically sustainable biological waste-water treatment system capable of cleaning, detoxifying, and recycling 100% of the waste-water produced in the LUC Biodiesel Lab and b) disseminating the design and complementary materials to other sustainable biodiesel producers throughout the U.S. and the world in order to prevent unnecessary environmental pollution and increase economic solvency. The success of our project will be measured against how well our goals and objectives have been achieved. The adaptive scientific process, through which we will develop and evaluate all phases of the design, will produce a wealth of quantitative and qualitative data and results.