Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Charles Taylor

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2011 Kellyann M. Murphy


The alternative fuel biodiesel is produced from the transesterification of vegetable oils or animal fat to fatty acid methyl esters. Pomona has a reactor on campus that can be used to run this reaction and produce biodiesel. The use of biodiesel has been found to lower air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions, but can be potentially harmful to the engines if it contains impurities. This paper proposes a method using high-performance liquid chromatography to test the quality of biodiesel. This method utilizes instrumentation and materials that are available in Pomona College's Chemistry Department, requires very little sample preparation, and is relatively safe, as long as general lab safety practices are followed. This method can also be used to optimize the procedure used to make the biodiesel. An optimized production procedure and a test method to assess the final product will ensure high quality fuel that can be used with confidence in diesel engines. This will likely add strength to proposals to increase the use of the on-campus reactor and produce biodiesel for campus grounds equipment from waste vegetable oil.


Senior thesis submitted in December 2011.