The Future of Biofuels

Cindy Zimmerman

ErinA middle school student from Merritt Island was in the spotlight at the 2007 Florida Farm to Fuel Summit last week in St. Petersburg for her work in making biofuels.

Yep, you read that right. Erin McCaskey, 12, attends Thomas Jefferson Middle School and her seventh grade science project last year was making biodiesel from a variety of sources.

“I got five different types of oil – used peanut oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil, corn oil and Wendy’s oil (leftover from a local restaurant),” said Erin. “And I made biodiesel and I tested that and E-85 and B-20 in a calorimeter for their energy content.” Used peanut oil was declared the energy winner by Erin.

For her eighth grade project, Erin will be making ethanol from different sources. She sees a bright future for biofuels. “There’s so many ways you can make biodiesel and ethanol – it’s amazing.”

Erin received recognition for her work from Florida Governor Charlie Crist and Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson.

Here’s an interview I did with Erin at the Summit: [audio:]

And here’s a great post about Erin on the BIOStock Blog by C. Scott Miller.

Follow up:
I found out that young Erin got more than just recognition from the governor at the Summit – she also received a free ride to the college of her choice, courtesy of Florida state representative Marty Bowen, Haines City. Read more from the Miami Herald.

Audio, Biodiesel, Ethanol, Government, News