Closing the Biodiesel Loop: Self Sustaining Community Based Biodiesel Production

EPA Grant Number: SU833203
Title: Closing the Biodiesel Loop: Self Sustaining Community Based Biodiesel Production
Investigators: Ramsdell, Jeff , Raichle, Brian W. , Allain, Eric
Current Investigators: Ramsdell, Jeff , Raichle, Brian W. , Scanlin, Dennis , Martin, Jack , Ramey, Michael , Carroll, Terry
Institution: Appalachian State University
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Phase: II
Project Period: September 1, 2006 through August 31, 2008
Project Amount: $75,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet - Phase 2 (2006) Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Air Quality , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainable and Healthy Communities


Wide scale biodiesel use presents a dramatic set of benefits to society including reduced pollution from fuel production and use, increased domestic employment and economic gain in the fuel production sector, and increased energy security. Phase II will address these barriers by creating and piloting long-term biodiesel educational programming, academic activities, public education, and research. Through these programs our multi-disciplinary team will address the major challenges facing the widespread adoption of biodiesel: lack of hands-on opportunities in biofuels education; lack of sustainable and sufficient feedstocks to meet projected demand; and systemic public misunderstanding of biodiesel.


To meet these objectives our core strategy in phase II is to convert the processing facility built in phase I into a state of the art closed-loop biodiesel lab which will be called the Appalachian State University Biodiesel Education and Research Lab (BERL). The creation of BERL will ensure that this P3 award will have a lasting impact.

Innovative components of this project are:

  • A lecture-and-lab course entitled “Introduction to Biofuels Technology” will be taught in spring 2007 and proposed for inclusion in the Appropriate Technology curriculum.
  • Installation of a state-of-the-art data acquisition system for system monitoring.
  • PV/generator hybrid renewable electricity system for off-grid production.
  • Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIR-spec.) real-time reaction monitoring will allow for advanced education and research of the transesterification reaction.
  • Feedstocks: A Trailer-mounted seed press will expand suitable oilseed crop research while collaborating with Agriculture Extension and local Farmers.
  • Conduct a feasibility study on the adaptation of an algae-based photo-bioreactor.
  • A fuel sample distribution program will provide small quantities of fuel, as well as technical assistance to key off-road sectors: home heating and farm equipment.

Expected Results:

Results of phase II will be measured by the establishment of educational and outreach programs, incorporation of research components at ASU BERL, and continued production of ASTM quality fuel while monitoring energy inputs and by-products. Updates, events, and progress will be posted on the project website ( Exit ).

Supplemental Keywords:

global climate, green chemistry, clean technologies, innovative technologies, conservation, waste reduction, engineering, atmosphere, cleaner production/pollution prevention, renewable fuels, life-cycle analysis, alternative energy source, pollution prevention, scientific discipline, sustainable industry/business, chemicals management, energy, environmental chemistry, sustainable environment, waste reduction, North Carolina (NC), alternative fuel, bio-based energy, biodiesel fuel, biofuel, biotechnology,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Sustainable Environment, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Energy, Environmental Chemistry, Technology, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Chemicals Management, Environmental Engineering, energy conservation, waste cooking oils, waste vegetable oil, waste to fuel conversion, alternative to petroleum diesel fuel, renewable fuel production, education, emission controls, energy efficiency, biodiesel fuel, alternative fuel, engineering, biotechnology, alternative energy source, environmentally benign alternative, biofuel, green chemistry, renewable energy

Relevant Websites:

Phase 1 Abstract

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2007
  • Final Report

  • P3 Phase I:

    Closing the Biodiesel Loop: Self Sustaining Community Based Biodiesel Production  | Final Report