MSA engineering student Almero Henning is committed to fueling vehicles on campus with biodiesel, and he is working to produce this alternative fuel source in-house as part of a capstone senior engineering project.
Almero understands better than most the importance of fuel for transportation. He is an international student from South Africa. This means that he travels over 16,000 miles each time he makes the roundtrip from Johannesburg to Charlottesville. This might be one of the motivators that prompted him to start collecting kitchen grease this fall.
"Using the used grease from the dining hall, I filter and then dilute the mixture before transferring the grease to the water heater. After an hour of circulation, the reaction has completed and separated into two compounds. After a further filtrations step, I am left with pure diesel," explained Almero.
Almero hopes that the biodiesel will be put to use on campus after an additional off-site testing protocol is complete.
The biodiesel project is one of many student-initiated and student-run engineering projects taking place on campus this year.