Biodiesel Research

Reuse Redefined

The Dickinson College Biodiesel Program is both a production and educational facility that has committed itself to both generating viable fuel and researching both the quality, safety, and end use for this product. Here we have highlighted some of the more prominent research & academic projects of our Biodiesel Interns.



Soap Making


One apparently viable option for re-use of the glycerol byproduct is refinement into a crude soap. Biodiesel glycerol soap has proven to be effective as a hand and body- washing agent, as well as for industrial degreasing, floor cleaning, stain removal from clothing, and dish washing. Our project expended significant effort over the past few years to refine recipes for liquid and bar soap, test market it to a variety of end users, and streamline the process for sustainable soap production.



WGAL television news story about Dickinson Biodiesel's soap-making efforts.



Safety Training



Sam Parker ('12) created and designed safety-training protocols for all employees and volunteers in the shop. Each intern is required to go through Lab Safety Training, Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures Training, Fire Extinguisher Training, Review of the Safety Handbook, and Shop Safety Tour.



Quality Testing


Sam Parker ('12) was instrumental in designing quality standards that match the American Society for Testing and Material (ASTM). These lab tests ensure that high quality, professional fuel is the byproduct of our production process.



Glycerol Composting


Composting of biodiesel glycerol has long been promoted by members of the grassroots biodiesel community as a means of byproduct disposal.  Beginning in 2007, student intern projects were used as a teaching tool for upper-division biology students, while attempting to gather useful information for biodiesel producers seeking a responsible method for byproduct disposal through composting. Students Alison Dethoff '08 and Jamie Panunzio '09 led the successive research projects, assisted by Sarah Gold '10 and Kelli Maurer '10.