Loyola, Northwestern partner on biodiesel project

Loyola University Chicago and Northwestern University are partnering on a program to bring more biodiesel production and education to both campuses.

A new enterprise called Chicago Biofuels will collect oil from Loyola’s and Northwestern’s cafeterias and will recycle it to create soap, and for use as fuel in the two schools’ shuttle buses.

Here is the new release from Loyola:

Loyola University Chicago’s Center for Urban Environmental Research and Policy (CUERP) Biodiesel Program staff is pleased to announce an exciting addition to its biodiesel program and community outreach. As of this July, Loyola has partnered with Northwestern University to increase biodiesel production, education, and outreach on both campuses and beyond.

The extensive collaboration between Loyola and Northwestern will also involve local company Chicago Biofuels. The young start-up company collects used cooking oil to be cleaned and then delivered for use as a renewable fuel, in this case a chemically converted biodiesel fuel. Most importantly, Chicago Biofuels maintains the same core principles of sustainable biodiesel production, education, and community development as Northwestern University and Loyola University Chicago.

Since Loyola’s Biodiesel Program emerged as an education program within CUERP in 2009, it has become the first educational program in the United States to be licensed by state and federal authorities to produce and sell biodiesel (in April 2010), and has produced 2,000 to 3,000 gallons of biodiesel each year. This new enterprise began selling biodiesel to The Free Enterprise System, Inc., Loyola’s shuttle service company, and then generated a new product called biodiesel soap–known as BioSoap–which has been sold to the public for the past two years. Following its early success, the program’s new goals were to expand its business operations, education offerings, and outreach to the public, which led to discussions and a solidified partnership with Northwestern University.

“This partnership was a natural fit, as Loyola and Northwestern are neighbors with shared values and resources. We both would like to be an example of local, green, collaborative thinking,” said Loyola’s biodiesel lab manager Zach Waickman. “By combining our resources to make biodiesel, we will be able to fuel both of our shuttle bus fleets–both are run by The Free Enterprise System, Inc. –with clean-burning biodiesel and hopefully push other schools, agencies, and business to use more local, renewable fuels.”

Chicago Biofuels will collect oil from Northwestern University’s campus food service provider Sodexo and Loyola’s Aramark dining services. The oil will be delivered and recycled into biodiesel product in Loyola’s biodiesel lab on its Lake Shore Campus. Products will include the biodiesel fuel for both campuses shuttle services, and BioSoap. More product options are being discussed and planned for the future, when the Loyola biodiesel program moves into a new lab in fall 2013.

Loyola and Northwestern’s partnership will aid in their goal to teach and bring other colleges and universities in Chicago and in Illinois into the biodiesel program. Most importantly, this collaboration will help further the education and benefits of biodiesel both on a state and national level. For more information about the biodiesel program, please visit LUC.edu/biodiesel.

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