Science Fair Projects

Fuel for the Future


The objective: The objective of my project is to determine how efficient certain biofuels are in comparison to diesel fuel and to determine whether using new or used oil in the making of the biofuels altered their efficiency.


Five oils were made into biofuels by the addition of sodium methoxide. Three of the oils; canola oil, soybean oil, and olive oil were new oils and two of the oils; fryer grease and grease trap waste, were used oils. After the addition of sodium methoxide, two layers were formed in the resultant solution; glycerin and the biofuel. The biofuel, the top layer, was removed and isolated. The biofuels, as well as diesel and methanol, were then tested three times in a homemade bomb calorimeter. The heat gain was measured in the water in order to determine energy emissions. Methanol, the standard, was used to compensate in the calculations for all of the heat loss experienced in the experiment.


The soybean biofuel and diesel had the same average energy emitted per gram per second, while canola, which emitted the second highest energy per gram per second, was a third less efficient. However, in regards to emitting the most energy per gram, the soybean biofuel was again the most efficient, which was followed closely by olive and then canola biofuel. Diesel had a very low emission rate per gram. Throughout all the tests fryer grease biofuel constantly preformed the worst, while grease trap waste did not convert to a fuel at all.


Biofuels, if manufactured correctly have the potential to have a comparable energy output to fossil fuels..

The project is comparing the efficiency of homemade biofuels in relation to diesel.

Science Fair Project done By Michele L. Trichler


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