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Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Environmental Sustainability

EPA’s People, Prosperity, and Planet program (P3)

Loyola's P3 team presents "From Pollution to Possibility: A Sustainable and Interdisciplinary Solution to Biodiesel Production Wastewater"

The EPA’s People, Prosperity, and Planet program (P3) is a multi-phase grant program that invests in sustainable solutions to environmental problems. This year a team of dedicated Loyola students received P3 phase I funding to conduct research on improving the sustainability of water use in Loyola Biodiesel Production. Five Loyola undergraduates and three staff/faculty mentors presented their research progress this past April in Washington, D. C. as a part of the EPA National Sustainable Design Expo. At the Expo they competed with teams from universities across the country for a $90,000 phase II grant.P3 team

Loyola’s P3 team showing off their research at the EPA National Sustainable Design Expo in April 2013. From Left to right: Timothy Seed (Class of ’13), Joseph Kamberos (’15), Dr. David Crumrine (mentor), Erin Ebbesmeyer (‘15), Amber White (’16), Sarah McDowell (’13), Zach Waickman (mentor), and Drew Monks (mentor)

Project Background

With a booming global population and a changing climate threatening to destabilize our already dwindling resources, fresh water scarcity is a major issue. Loyola University Chicago’s Biodiesel Lab combats climate change and reduces its carbon footprint by producing a renewable fuel source from waste vegetable oil. The biodiesel production process, however, creates a byproduct, Biodiesel Wash Water (BWW), that contains methanol, potassium soaps, and Free Fatty Acids (FFAs). This toxic BWW has traditionally been minimally treated and poured down the drain to be dealt with, at high public cost, by waste water treatment plants. This year’s Loyola P3 team has worked on developing sustainable solutions for the treatment of BWW and the recycling of waste streams back into the Biodiesel production process.



Ongoing Research

Flow thru

Model of a flow-through ion filtration system for S. bigelovii, (modified from Klim et al. 2012)
Sarah McDowell, Erin Ebbesmeyer, and Timothy Seed using a homemade CO2 generator to lower the pH of Biodiesel Wash Water at the National Expo


Institute of Environmental Sustainability
Loyola University Chicago · 1032 W. Sheridan Road
Chicago, IL 60660 · Phone: 773-508-2130 · IES@luc.edu

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