One day the same oil that crisps your fries could then power your car.
CMU chemist Dale LeCaptain and his team of student researchers hope the day is right around the corner when cooking oils from restaurants and food processing facilities can efficiently be turned into biodiesel.
Of course biodiesel is already being produced and sold for consumer use. The National Biodiesel Board lists 53 locations in Michigan where drivers can fuel up on biodiesel blends – part biodiesel and part petroleum diesel. In these cases, the biodiesel is mainly made from soybean oil.
LeCaptain’s process uses manufacturing waste from restaurants and food processing facilities, which avoids the public outcry against using food-based crops for fuel.