Universities Explore Biodiesel Production
BUFFALO, N.Y. --- Like a growing number of cities, more and more universities are launching programs aimed at exploring the use of biodiesel to power campus vehicles. At the University at Buffalo, five college students are four months into a biodiesel production project that uses waste grease collected from the university’s dining facilities. Business First of Buffalo, a local business journal, profiled the project this week.With funding from the UB Faculty-Student Association, the student team is producing biodiesel in one-liter batches. The goal is to power “nonessential” campus equipment, such as dump trucks, on a 20-percent biodiesel blend by summer.Ultimately, the team hopes to develop a reactor that can process all the waste grease generated at the university’s dining facilities each year and convert it into biodiesel.Local interest in biodiesel isn’t restricted to the University at Buffalo, either. According to Business First of Buffalo, two local companies are also producing biodiesel. One business began producing soy- and canola-based biodiesel in February. Another plans to start production in July.Blue Sky Optimum Energy Inc., operated by Tara Mancini, can offer biodiesel at about $2.50 a gallon. Plans call for ramping up production to 24 million gallons annually by 2008.