EGEE 439
Alternative Fuels from Biomass Sources

Lesson 9: Biodiesel Production

Lesson 9: Biodiesel Production


We’ve focused on the processes used to make ethanol from fermentation and to create other products using thermochemical methods. Now we will look at making biodiesel from fats using transesterification as well as other methods being investigated. Converting vegetable oils into biodiesel is fairly straight-forward and easy to do, but it is still not very economic. We will begin with a brief chemistry tutorial on the chemistry of vegetable oils and animal fats before going into transesterification. We will then discuss other methods of biodiesel production. 

Lesson Objectives

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • explain the chemistry of vegetable oil biodiesel, and several ways to make it;
  • explain how to utilize biodiesel in a diesel engine;
  • evaluate best uses of biodiesel.

Lesson 9 Road Map

This lesson will take us one week to complete. Please refer to the Course Syllabus for specific time frames and due dates. Specific directions for the assignment below can be found within this lesson.

Steps for Completing Lesson 9
Step Activity
1 Watch the 3-part Biodiesel Production Demonstration videos
2 Homework (Quiz)


If there is anything in the lesson materials that you would like to comment on, or don't quite understand, please post your thoughts and/or questions to our Throughout the Course Questions & Comments discussion forum and/or set up an appointment for office hour. While you are there, feel free to post responses to your classmates if you are able to help.