p(right caption). Loyola-Chicago presenters, (from left) Luke Beasley, Daniel Larkin, and Shane Lishawa
Loyola University Chicago’s Center for Urban Environmental Research and Policy (CUERP) is taking its wildly popular Solutions To Environmental Problems (STEP) biodiesel program on the road next fall to educate area high school students thanks to a $75,000 grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The interdisciplinary program, launched in fall 2007, emphasizes environmental sustainability and educates students on how to convert recycled waste vegetable oil into eco-friendly biodiesel fuel.
Loyola participated in the EPA’s â€˜People, Prosperity, and the Planet Student Design Competition for Sustainability,â€™ also known as the P3 Award Expo/Program, and captured the grant with a proposal entitled, â€˜Innovative Biodiesel Production: A Solution to the Scientific, Technical, and Educational Challenges to Sustainability.â€™ The proposal calls for an educational outreach program that involves teaching area high schools, two each semester, how to recycle waste vegetable oil into biodiesel fuel, and how to implement a STEP: Biodiesel course into their curriculum.
p(left caption). Working to convert used oil…
â€˜Our STEP program has been a huge hit on campus, and we’re seeing incredible interest from our students, faculty, and staff, as well as the community,â€™ says Nancy Tuchman, associate provost for research and director of the STEP program. â€˜Since the inception of the program, we’ve worked with two area schools to launch their own biodiesel labs, and now, having the ability to take this program into even more area high schools, is really exciting and a great way to expand students’ active engagement in environmental sustainability.â€™
p(right caption). …into new fuel.
Loyola University Chicago’s STEP: Biodiesel program was among the phase one grant winners, and the class used the money to launch the STEP curriculum in fall 2007, which included, among other things, the construction of the biodiesel lab and the development of an algae culturing facility to grow algae from which oils can be extracted for biodiesel production. Within the academic year, the class successfully produced biodiesel fuel and tested it on diesel vehicles, developed partnerships within the community that allowed the biodiesel to be used as fuel for various commercial vehicles, and created an Advanced STEP class for those who completed the original curricula.