Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Environmental Science and Policy

Major Professor

Beverly Ward, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Brinkmann, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Anthony Ferraro, MPH


alternative fuel, Biodiesel, cooking oil, yellow grease, exhaust, diesel


Research and experience has shown that vegetable oil can be processed, by transesterification, into a useable fuel for compression ignition engines. Earlier research examined using straight vegetable oil as a fuel, but found it to cause detrimental engine problems. Trial and error has shown that heating the vegetable oil prior to injection, is a viable option. A diesel vehicle engine was operated for over 188 hours or approximately 7,000 miles, using waste cooking oil as fuel. The longevity of the vehicle engine was limited by an undetermined engine failure.

Using stationary testing, with no engine load and various power settings, engine emissions of several engines operating on waste cooking oil were compared to emissions from two other fuels, diesel and Biodiesel, and found to be very positive. Waste vegetable oil (WVO) had lower overall emissions than diesel and lower levels of nitrogen species than Biodiesel.

Agricultural yield predictions estimate that currently only 5% and at most 20% of all diesel fuel needs can be met with vegetable oil. Currently WVO is a disposal problem. It is primarily used as a feedstock. WVO is not a commodity and has disposal fees associated with it. If WVO is used as a fuel, it would not only provide another source for disposal, but it may also increase the value of WVO making it a commodity instead of a disposal burden.