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Resources

Explore online resources available to high school students and teachers or contact us with more questions.

Biodiesel Calculator

The biodiesel calcultor is a production assitant tool:

High School Opportunities

We want to make environmental education a part of every high school student's education. We use biodiesel as a working example of conservation, energy cycles, and sustainability. Here is some of the support we provide:

  • Tours
  • In-class guest speaking and assistance with biodiesel labs
  • Support for teachers and students via e-mail or Skype, videos, and equipment design, such as the Mobile Biodiesel designed for education.
  • Biodiesel lab curriculum for high school teachers

Program Background

In 2008, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded Loyola University Chicago a People, Prosperity, and the Planet grant of $75,000 to launch a biodiesel educational outreach program to local high schools. The grant was co-authored by STEP: Biodiesel student Luke Beasley.

To fulfill this grant, we promised to use biodiesel production as an educational tool to teach thousands of high school students about biodiesel and renewable energy. Specifically, we committed to:

  • Implement an fellowship program which will provide professional experience to Loyola students interested in environmental and science education
  • Design and build ReAct (mobile biodiesel processor designed for education), each containing all of the equipment necessary to produce biodiesel
  • Set-up each MGEL at a different high school each semester, where students will convert waste vegetable oil from cafeterias into biodiesel
  • Empower teachers to use biodiesel as a science and environmental education tool
  • Publish a curriculum so that our novel approach to science education can be replicated elsewhere
  • Assist interested schools in the design and construction of permanent biodiesel labs

With this two year grant our high school outreach project has:

  • Designed and built four (4) MGELs that are currently deployed to partner high schools: Highland Park, Carl Sandburg, Bloom, and Victor Andrew
  • Paired each MGEL with a biodiesel powered generator and a deep fryer to enable teachers to demonstrate a closed-loop energy system at school events
  • Developed an inquiry-based, hands-on biodiesel curriculum that revolves around understanding biodiesel production in the MGEL
  • Hosted two (2) Professional Development Workshops for high schools teachers

Lesson Plans

Our goal is to provide a comprehensive collection of activities that teach scientific principles through the lens of alternative fuel production. We continue to develop new labs and lessons in the Searle Biodiesel Lab, but we also encourage teachers to submit their ideas to us. Please help us to build a library of biodiesel, alternative energy, and environmental sustainability labs.

Biodiesel Labs - v5 2017 (9 Labs)
Teacher Manual, Student Lab, Data Sheets, and Post Lab Questions Included
Updated: January, 2017

Individual Labs:

Please e-mail us to learn more about the resources available through our program and feel free to contact us with any questions or ideas: zwaickm@luc.edu.

Mobile Biodiesel Processor

Complete Plans Available by Request
Parts Lists, Video Build Guide, Operators Manuals, and more.
Please contact us so we can help you design, build, and operate an system that is best suited to your educational goals. 

Developed by Loyola's Biodiesel Program, the ReAct Mobile Biodiesel Processor showcases the entire process of converting used cooking oil into biodiesel on a self-contained cart approximately the size of a wagon. ReAct provides an easy-to-use, hands-on learning experience for the high school classroom.

Engaging: ReAct is an educational tool and accompanying lesson plan that gets students involved and active in the learning process. It will grab their attention in a way a textbook usually can't.
Dynamic: ReAct's open interface showcases chemistry as it happens. The three-day biodiesel production process allows for unique educational opportunities at every stage which keeps the classroom energetic and interesting.
Supportive: ReAct is not just a machine. It is a comprehensive educational program that includes curriculum guides to help educators incorporate it into their classrooms and support from Loyola's groundbreaking Biodiesel Program.
Holistic: ReAct looks at education in a new way. It's not only chemistry, it's also environmental science. When used to its fullest, it can teach concepts of self-sustainability and business strategy as students find a use for the waste cooking oil their school already produces and the biodiesel students create with ReAct.

Features and Benefits

Compact Size Fit in a classroom and stores in a closet, and easily transported between classrooms or special events
Open Interface Gives students an illustrative learning experience of complex subjects, and allows students to experience to sensory cues of biodiesel production
Interactive Provides students with a kinetic and memorable learning experience through hand-on experience with alternative fuel production
Teacher Lesson Plan Free Teacher Lesson Plan for easy integration into existing curricula

ReAct was designed by and is supported by students in the Loyola Biodiesel Program. Their own hands-on experience making biodiesel at Loyola has helped to create this powerful learning tool. ReAct has also been paired with a diesel generator (powered with biodiesel) and a deep-fryer (powered by the generator) to demonstrate a closed-loop energy system. This system has been featured on the National Mall in Washington DC, at high school football games, and at green fairs around Chicago.

There are a myriad of companies that have push-button processors for creating biodiesel fuel. The core competence of Loyola's Biodiesel Program is in our interactive design. This is what makes ReAct a phenomenal educational tool. Without the interactivity, much of the experience and learning opportunity is lost to automation. The ability for students to physically interact with the machine and see the chemical processes occur is what makes ReAct an attractive program for educators.

Videos

How Our Program Started in 2007
Student Documentary Film
Fr. Michael Garanzini, SJ, discusses how Loyola University is the "perfect size" to educate students in order to affect environmental change in all facets of society. Integrating Education
22 students from a myriad of different academic backgrounds have come together to learn about and act on the carbon-emission problem at Loyola University Chicago. One Stop Location
From gathering waste vegetable oil from the cafeterias to testing the quality of the biodiesel, students have led the way making STEP:Biodiesel a successful new course at Loyola University. Smells Like Biodiesel
Intro to Making Biodiesel
Michele Stein (former Biodiesel Intern) and Zach Waickman (Biodiesel Lab Manager) give a quick introduction to making biodiesel in this video. How to Make Biodiesel
Making Biodiesel with a Rube Goldberg Machine
What do you do when you leave work for the day and forget to make biodiesel? Phone it in and let your Rube Goldberg machine take over. Enjoy! Biodiesel w/ Rube Goldberg

Explore online resources available to high school students and teachers or contact us with more questions.

High School Opportunities

We want to make environmental education a part of every high school student's education. We use biodiesel as a working example of conservation, energy cycles, and sustainability. Here is some of the support we provide:

  • Tours
  • In-class guest speaking and assistance with biodiesel labs
  • Support for teachers and students via e-mail or Skype, videos, and equipment design, such as the Mobile Biodiesel designed for education.
  • Biodiesel lab curriculum for high school teachers