Wazzu Biodiesel Club Gets Start

John Davis

A handful of students at Washington State University are trying to take their energy future into their own hands. While the WSU Biodiesel Club only got about 10 members at their first meeting this week, organizers hope that the student-run operation soon will be producing 200 gallons of the green fuel a day.

This story from the student paper, The Daily Evergreen, says once they start making a profit, the club’s first order of business is to pay back benefactor Bob Richards, who has put $4,000 of his own money into the idea:

So far, all members of the club are engineering majors currently attending WSU.

“There’s really no qualifications necessary to be a part of this club,” [Nate Storrs, a sophomore mechanical engineeering major and a member of the Biodiesel Club] said. “It was just by chance that we are all of the same major. Really we’re just looking for people who would be willing to devote time and energy into a process that they believe to be worthy.” However, not just anyone can hop onto a machine and make biodiesel. Before production can start, members will need to take a hazardous materials course as well as read up on materials that are on the material safety datasheet, to prevent problems down the line. Once preparation is done, the actual production of biodiesel is simple, Smith said. “All it really takes is cleaning out the oils and grease and then mixing it with methanol and potassium hydroxide, and after a heating process you create usable biodiesel,” Smith said.

If you’re on the campus in Pullman, check out the Biodiesel Club at 5:30 p.m. at the Sloan Hall second-floor lounge.