The Colleges bump up alternative fuel – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

The Colleges bump up alternative fuel

In keeping with the President’s Climate Commitment, the Colleges are continuing to make advances toward sustainability and environmental responsibility.

As of the fall 2009 semester, the HWS Buildings and Grounds Department has been running all of the diesel maintenance equipment on B20 Biodiesel, a blend of petroleum diesel fuel and a refined, clean-burning alternative fuel produced from the used fryer oil from dining services.

With this new technique for fueling the nine diesel vehicles owned by HWS, Grounds Manager David Iannicello says, “We can claim a 28 percent reduction in our diesel purchases.”

The nearly 6,000 pounds of discarded fryer grease per year translates to roughly 850 gallons, which, in turn, yields roughly a one-to-one ratio for diesel production.  This means that those 6,000 pounds of unwanted fryer grease, which at one time needed to be hauled away by an outside company, now yields 850 gallons of biodiesel fuel.  Those 850 gallons reduce the amount of petroleum diesel used per year by more than one third. 

To make the biodiesel, the used grease is first filtered, then pumped into a machine with reactants, which convert the grease into usable fuel.  After the 24-hour reaction process and a 24-hour rinse cycle, the fuel is pumped into a tank, where it is mixed with petroleum diesel.

While there is a byproduct of the process, glycerin, it can be sold back to the supplier of the reactants, so, as Iannicello says, “There’s no waste: every gallon of fryer oil we bring over gets used.”

In addition, by replacing older gas trucks with diesel engine units, overall fuel usage has decreased by 6 percent.  And, at roughly $1 per gallon, the biodiesel is saving money as well as energy.

“All around, taking advantage of alternative energy sources is a good emissions reduction strategy,” says HWS Sustainability Coordinator James Landi ’08.