What is Biodiesel?

  • Biodiesel is a cleaner, more environmentally friendly fuel produced for diesel engines.
  • Made from used vegetable oil or animal fat. (That's right, what your french fries are cooked in!)

Why is Biodiesel Important?

  • Biodiesel has the potential to reduce toxic emissions that have a major impact on the environment.
  • Increasing the use of biodiesel could play a role in reducing our reliance on foreign oil.
  • Rural economies could benefit by adding further demand for agricultural commodities.

Biodiesel productionHowever, production of biodiesel in the United States is still extremely limited due primarily to a lack of awareness and production knowledge.

The University of Central Oklahoma is providing this website in hopes of accomplishing two main goals.

  • Increase the level of awareness about biodiesel and its many beneficial attributes.
  • Provide freely to any aspiring organization the needed information to start its own biodiesel program.

UCO has recently developed a Biodiesel Fuel Program with the production capability to power many of the diesel engines on its campus. The benefits of this program can be reproduced by any organization, large or small, and UCO would like to help.

All information on this web site is free of costs to the user; however, prior to accessing this site you must read and agree to the sites Terms and Conditions - which follow:


Production of biodiesel fuel is an inherently dangerous process, which requires expertise and knowledge to perform in a safe and successful manner. What follows is intended for informational use only. It is information relative to the UCO Biodiesel program, and is provided for no other purpose other than background information. Other use of this material, than for information, is by the full knowledge and consent of you, the site visitor, and not recommended or endorsed by UCO. Information from this web site is used at the site visitor's own risk.

"As a precedent to access of the information, I agree and understand that:

1.      "Homebrew" production of Biodiesel is not an exact science. These instructions are meant to serve as a guide and not the definitive answer to a complete and perfect final product;

2.      The production of Biodiesel entails working with and using chemicals that are hazardous to your health. Some are highly corrosive, poisonous, and/or flammable. Personal protection from such chemicals should be worn AT ALL TIMES. Careful consideration should be taken in the storage and use of such chemicals

3.      The use of Biodiesel is not endorsed by all engine manufacturers. Before using Biodiesel in any engine, check with that engine manufacturer to be sure that it is compatible with your vehicle and/or equipment. Not doing so could result in severe engine damage;

4.      It is your responsibility to check with your local authorities for any possible tax liability that could be associated with the production and/or use of Biodiesel in your area; and

  1. UCO Disclaims Liability:
    UCO does not and cannot accept, and hereby specifically disclaims, any liability for death, injury, any loss, cost or expense suffered or incurred by any person if such loss is caused by, arises from or results from the use of any of this material, due to default or omission or any act of its agents and specifically disclaims, any liability for losses arising from, caused by, or resulting from, the provision or non-provision of information in this document. UCO is not able to warrant and does not warrant any particular information herein, that even when used properly, it will produce the desired results expected by the user or implementer of the information. As a condition precedent to access to this web site, the individual wishing to have access, agrees to the foregoing and accepts fully the foregoing disclaimer."

I ACCEPT, and would like to proceed

View UCO Biodiesel Disclaimer with Terms & Conditions

How is Biodiesel Made?

The production of Biodiesel involves the transesterification of waste vegetable oil and animal fat. Transesterification is the process of exchanging the alkoxy group of an ester with another alcohol. This reaction is catalyzed by the addition of a base (the sodium hydroxide in our case)

The Chemistry

Vegetable oil and animal fat are triglycerides composed of 3 chains of fatty acids. These triglycerides are called "esters" are acids held together by a glycerin molecule. In order to get our Biodiesel, we have to break that bond. This is accomplished with a base, the lye. Once the bond is broken, these esters must reattach themselves to something. They reattach to the methanol and become methyl-esters, also known as Biodiesel! What you have left is the glycerin. Actually it is glycerol, because it contains some alcohol (methanol).

The Production Process

Frequently Asked Questions

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Do You Have Questions for Us?

Tom Groshong
Motor Pool Supervisor

Carl Shortt
Motor Pool Shop Lead

Guy Ellis
Mechanic II

Feasibility Study

The UCO Biodiesel feasibility study was the result of a collaborative partnership between UCO Facilities Management and the School of Business. The goal was to take an in-depth analytical look at every aspect of the production process. It provides an informative overview of biodiesel and also UCO's current development process.

PDF: The "UCO Biodiesel Program Evaluation" document ~ (Get: Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Testing and Product Analysis

UCO Facilities Management and the Department of Chemistry in a collaborative partnership have made an in-depth analysis of the finished product from this program. The Department of Chemistry has been experimenting with its own transesterification process and recommended some improvements to our current procedures. As the UCO Biodiesel Fuel Project matures we hope these and other improvements will help us attain the most efficient reactor and highest quality product possible.

UCO is currently operating a single large fully portable batch reactor that uses only 2 connections, 1 50 220V plug and city water connection.

The batch reactor was custom designed and built by UCO staff and can react up to 150 gallons of Waste Vegetable oil at a time.