Loyola University Chicago

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Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Environmental Sustainability

STEP: Biodiesel Course

The Goal


Chemistry students help journalism students, psychology students guide business students, and policy makers teach art history majors; the varying backgrounds help to address the array of issues involved in alternative fuels.

Faculty Instructors

The faculty contributing to the class is as diverse as the students. It is helpful to have such a respected and eager group of professors interested in biodiesel.

Interdisciplinary Instruction

This is an interdisciplinary course, taking an innovative, experimental approach to teaching. In order to get the project going and keep it going, a wide range of knowledge is needed in business, biology, chemistry, environmental science, communication and politics. Because no one can be an expert in all of these areas, it makes sense to integrate the university's resources from different departments. No other class is able to offer such a comprehensive insight into one subject, making it a unique and powerful practice in teaching the students.

Lectures given by each professor provide an overview of their subject area as it applies to petroleum use and alternative energy, particularly biodiesel. The students learn the whole process:

The lectures provide necessary background information for the students to further pursue the research of biodiesel.


Each student participates in a semester-long group project. As an integral part of the interdisciplinary class, the group projects are a divide-and-conquer approach to the issues concerning sustainability at Loyola. Each project group is mentored by faculty members from the corresponding field of study. The projects will contribute to the overall goal of developing and sustaining the venture of producing clean, renewable alternative fuels from a waste product.

The Lab

Hands-on experience comes while in the lab, where students learn the process of making biodiesel. From collecting the waste vegetable oil from the university's cafeterias to titrating the free fatty acid content, students are expected to learn and experience how to physically convert a waste product into a renewable fuel.


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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