Preparation and Combustion of Biodiesel

This Preparation and Combustion of Biodiesel activity also includes:

The United States is the world's largest producer of biofuel. During an in-class investigation, young scientists produce their own biodiesel. They burn a sample of it to determine the heat of combustion. Then they discuss the results when compared with the ideal results — as well as the results from other fuel sources, both renewable and non-renewable.

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CCSS: Adaptable
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Instructional Ideas
  • Discuss heat of combustion before starting the lab
  • Complete the experiment over two class periods, as the biodiesel must sit overnight
Classroom Considerations
  • Follow all safety precautions with methanol, as it is highly flammable and has an invisible flame
  • Many of the chemicals used are caustic and corrosive; avoid any contact with skin or eyes
  • Relates to many chemistry topics including chemical reactions, thermodynamics, combustion, and green chemistry
  • Includes a link with additional practice problems
  • Offers a clear description of how to set up the experiment and a photograph of what the final product should look like


  • None