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Biodiesel technology program to cut fuel costs for UNCP campus

By Lesley Covington
Senior Staff Writer

UNCP’s study of biodiesel technology begins in earnest Feb. 26 when a biofuel reactor arrives on campus.            

The “biofuel team”—consisting of Dr. Maria Pereira in the biology department and Dr. Siva Mandjiny and Dr. Thomas Dooling, both of the chemistry department—have been anticipating a chance for UNCP to expand into research.

Dr. Maria Pereira, Dr. Siva Mandjiny and Dr. Thomas Dooling inspect the trailer that will house the biofuel reactor.

Photo by Scott Ammons
Dr. Maria Pereira, Dr. Siva Mandjiny and Dr. Thomas Dooling inspect the trailer that will house the biofuel reactor.

“We are really excited to get the reactor here,” Mandjiny said.            
           
“We are going to educate the students in research. It’s a very unique experience for them,” Mandjiny continued.            

Piedmont Biofuels will assemble the reactor and provide training for two people after delivery.            
           
“The training will be processing the first batch,” Pereira said.

A biofuel reactor can use virgin vegetable oil—oil that has not been used in cooking—or it can use “waste vegetable oil” to create biodiesel.
           
"Right now we are collecting used oil in Sodexho. We are storing it in the Physical Plant where the reactor will be,” Pereira said.

According to Pereira, each batch of waste vegetable oil will produce 45 gallons of biodiesel.

The total cost of equipment, assembly and training for the reactor is about $20,000.            

The primary goal of working with the reactor will be research.

"Our goal is to prove that we’re able to make the fuel for cheaper than we would buy it,” Dooling said.            
           
"Biodiesel is the name of a clean burning alternative fuel,” according to the National Biodiesel Board’s website.                        

Biodiesel is an environment-friendly fuel.            

“Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend.

“Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel to have fully completed the health effects testing requirements of the Clean Air Act,” the National Biodiesel Board said.            
           
Biodiesel produces less carbon monoxide emissions than petroleum diesel.           

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Updated: Thursday, February 22, 2007
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