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Learn to make biodiesel at workshops June 3-5

People who want to learn to make their own biodiesel are invited to a workshop on June 3, 4 or 5 hosted by the LSU AgCenter at the W.A. Callegari Environmental Center in Baton Rouge, La.

The workshop starts at 9:30 a.m. each day and will be followed at 11 a.m. by a 60-minute demonstration on how to make biodiesel from used vegetable oil.

The 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. lecture sessions are the same each day. The demonstrations each day will be different, said Bill Carney, LSU AgCenter environmental educator.

“The process takes 48 hours,” Carney said. “So on Day One, we will load the vegetable oil into the reactor and get it started. On Day Two, we’ll drain the glycerin and start the wash process. On Day Three, participants can see the finished product and learn how to store it in drums.”

For the workshop, Carney will make 50 gallons of biodiesel.

Carney said for an investment of under $1,000, people can make batches of about 25 to 30 gallons of biodiesel.

“For about $8,000 — the cost for a more automated process — you can make batches of 50 gallons,” Carney said. “This is the setup we have at the Callegari Center.”

Beyond that amount, it becomes more difficult for the small operator to acquire enough vegetable oil to justify the cost, Carney said.

“We’re aiming this workshop at individuals or small business people — people with small fleets of trucks or tractors — such as people in the landscape business or farmers,” Carney said. “They can produce their own biodiesel to run these vehicles for about $1 a gallon.”

Carney will provide information on finding suppliers of vegetable oil. He gets his used vegetable oil from the LSU cafeterias and uses the biodiesel he manufactures in LSU AgCenter trucks.

“There is a lot of interest in making biodiesel,” Carney said. “There are also scams out there. We’ll help people sort through what’s research-based and what works and doesn’t work.”

People who attend the 90-minute lecture session are welcome to attend the demonstrations on one or all three days, Carney said.

The workshop is free, but Carney encourages people to register. Contact Carney at [email protected] or (225) 578-3105.

More information about biodiesel is on the LSU AgCenter’s Web site ( Search for biodiesel.

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