Determining biodiesel energy costs

Dr. David Bruce and Dr. Dora Lopez, both chemical engineers, are studying the energy life cycle of making biodiesel from rendered animal fats. They are comparing the costs of making biodiesel in terms of energy inputs.

With vegetable-based fats, biodiesel production costs must include the energy inputs to grow and harvest the vegetable crops. With animal fats, the primary goal of raising the animal was for meat, milk or egg production. Their project is validating that biodiesel produced from rendered animal fats uses less energy than biodiesel produced from vegetable crops.

This project is of benefit to the industry for marketing efforts in “green energy” as well as for governmental support of biofuels issues.