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High school students to make biodiesel

By Antonio De Jesús Aguado

A group of high school students concerned about the pollution of water and the environment in general have launched a project to produce biodiesel from cooking oil.

Biodiesel is not just a cleaner fuel; it is produced with renewable and alternative resources. This fuel is currently being produced by countries such as the US, Argentina, Germany and France, among others, and in 2010 alone 20 billion liters were produced. For producing environmentally friendly biodiesel recycled sunflower and soy oils or recycled oils from restaurants and homes are used; the students based their project on the latter source of oil.

Alfredo Lozano Ortega, an 18-year-old student, said that the idea of producing biodiesel came from a science project that he presented in his school. The project is called “Supercapturador” and it consists of collecting used oil and turning it into biodiesel. Lozano noted that if oil is thrown down the drain one liter could pollute 1,000 liters of water and damage the environment. The coordinator of the project also noted that the oil erodes the soil and is one of the main causes of urban infestations of rats and cockroaches, because of the food particles still present in the oil.

The students’ project is being supported by schools such as Instituto Bilingüe Milenio, José Vasconcelos and Instituto Tecnológico SSC, where there will be permanent collection centers; the aim is to involve every school in the city. Currently Lozano Ortega and his team are collecting oil from restaurants such as Mama Mía, Cumpanio and La Alborada, among others, as well as from the Hotel Real de Minas. They had a meeting with the CANIRAC (Association of Restaurants) and the enrolled restaurants will get involved in the program. Lozano said that they will start producing the fuel once they have enough oil, and they are already trying to get or construct the necessary equipment. The goal is to collect 5,000 liters of oil in the short term (2,000 from restaurants and hotels and 3,000 from houses). The quantity of biodiesel produced will depend on the cleanliness of the oil.

Ecofrigo is a socially responsible company with headquarters in Celaya; they recycle electrical appliances and air conditioners, and the company also safely disposes of Freon, with permits from the SEMARNAT (Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources). Ecofrigo is supporting the students’ program by providing them a space with the permits for storage in the meantime, as well as with vehicles for collecting the oil. The Municipal Institute for San Miguel’s Youth will start a campaign for recycling oil.

For more information about the project contact Alfredo Lozano at


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