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Cooking Oil Converted to Fuel Bus Fleets

Northwestern, Loyola University green initiative to produce biodiesel, foster education

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University and Loyola University are teaming up in a green initiative that will recycle vegetable oil from dining halls to fuel the schools’ respective shuttle bus fleets. 

The two universities are working with Chicago Biofuels, a local company which collects used cooking oil and refines it for use as a renewable fuel, in this case a chemically converted biodiesel fuel. Northwestern will burn the oil in a number of buses.

The Northwestern/Loyola collaboration is designed not only to increase biodiesel production, but also to foster education and outreach on both campuses and beyond, said Brian Peters, assistant vice president for University Services.

Chicago Biofuels is collecting oil from Northwestern's food service provider Sodexo and Loyola's Aramark dining services. The oil will be recycled into biodiesel products in Loyola’s biodiesel lab on its Lake Shore Campus.

Products will include, but are not limited to, biodiesel fuel and biodiesel soap, known as BioSoap, which has been sold to the public for the last four years. Other product options are being discussed and planned for future use.

As part of Northwestern’s ongoing partnership with Loyola and Chicago Biofuels, The Free Enterprise System, which operates both campuses shuttle services, will receive regular 300-gallon shipments of biodiesel. Each shipment lasts approximately three weeks as a fuel supplement.

 “This partnership was a natural fit,” said Loyola’s biodiesel lab manager Zach Waickman. “Loyola and Northwestern are neighbors with shared values and resources. By combining our resources, we will be able to fuel both of our bus fleets and hopefully encourage other schools, agencies and businesses to use more local, renewable fuels.\"

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