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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA


Registered: November 2009
City/Town/Province: Philadelphia
Posts: 1
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My name is Maya, I am 18 and Iím from Philadelphia. During my junior year of high school, the manager of my internship told me about a program called TREES. It was an eight week program during the summer that specialized in the research of toxicology in the environment. I decided to apply for it, and I made it. It was held at the University of Pennsylvania, everyday, from 9AM to 5PM and I was very interested in it. At that time, I love sciences and I was happy that I chose to join. Each of us had to do a environmental project that would benefit the future of the world.

I remember thinking about the CO2 emission in the air and the issue of global warming. I then gathered some information about oil consumption and the use of gasoline and it made me realize how much pollution was being spread and how it was effecting the environment. This made me wonder if there were other fuels that could be used other than gasoline. After I did some more research, I figured out another way to drive cars without using the limited supply of oil is by using alternative fuels such as biofuels. Biofuels are a solid, liquid, or gas fuel consisting of, or derived from biomass. It is also known to reduce CO2 emissions in the earthís air which could help reduce the global-warming issue. Different types of biofuels are Butanol, Ethanol, Methanol, Solid Biofuels (Wood & Charcoal), and Biodiesel.

I decided to chose biodiesel which is a clean burning methanol† or ethanol based fuel made from vegetable or animal fats. It is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics.
My project goals were to attempt to make biodiesel using waste vegetable oil, methanol, and sodium hydroxide. I also wanted to test the energy content of biodiesel and compare to other fuels.

The first thing I did was centrifuge and filter my waste vegetable oil to remove all particles from it. I heated up my vegetable oil to about 80 degrees Celsius to remove all water inside the oil. Afterward, I measured 6.5 grams of Sodium Hydroxide and mixed it with 250 ml of methanol until it dissolved into solution. After the oil cooled down, and the sodium hydroxide solution was complete, I poured the solution into the oil and mixed it together. I waited a day or two after mixing it together before continuing. After the separation, I removed the top layer and stored it into a new container. Now I had my biodiesel.

After I made my Biodiesel, I decided to figure out the energy content of it and then compare it to other alternative fuels such as, Ethanol, Gasoline, and my Biodiesel. I took an aluminum can (355 ml) and filled it up with 100 ml of water. I then sat a thermometer into the water to see how much it was at room temperature (27 degrees Celsius). Afterward, I filled a small glass bowl of biodiesel and weighed it on a scale before burning it. Next, I lit the oil on fire and then used the flame as a heater to heat up the water in the can and the temperature reached 81 degrees Celsius. After the oil cooled down, I weighed it again to see how much lower it got. I used the same exact method for the biodiesel that I used for the ethanol. To find the energy per gram for gasoline, I researched it.

Starting with 245.22 grams and ending with 242.15 lets me know that I lost 3.07 grams of the ethanol by burning it. Starting with 259.61 grams and ending with 256.38 lets me know that I lost 3.23 grams of the biodiesel by burning it. After doing a few calculations, I took the number I had and found the energy per gram for each one. Ethanol was 7.6 kj/g, Biodiesel was 9.1 kj/g, and Gasoline was 42.1 kj/g.

It shows that Ethanol and Biodiesel have a lot less energy than gasoline per gram. However, it is still better to use since it will help the environment and reduce the emissions and fossil fuels.

As of now, I am a sophomore at Central Pennsylvania College, maintaining a 3.5 GPA. As I think back on that report I know that it would help the environment in many ways. Most of us and many fast food places uses waste vegetable oil to fry things but no one think that it could be used and converted to biodiesel. This is a cheaper and much safer way that would help the environment. I would like to say that I chose to write this essay and apply for this scholarship because I am in need of money. I also believe that being a student in college is hard work. Striving for success in career goals, in pursuit of enjoying a stable life, is stressful for college students. In closing, I believe this scholarship, combined with all the other positive elements of my educational environment, will prove beneficial in achieving all of my goals.
Date: November 13, 2009 ∑ Views: 2440 ∑ File size: 17.3kb ∑ Dimensions: 303 x 325 ∑
Hours Volunteered: 320
Volunteers: 1
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 16 & 12 to 17
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