Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Eric O'Brien


Biomass energy; Biodiesel fuels; University of Northern Iowa--Environmental conditions;


In light of a gap in the literature of what makes or breaks student biodiesel conversion programs, this thesis will give a review and analysis of select existing biodiesel conversion programs and suggest a model reflecting the characteristics of successful student programs.

The study’s research questions are:

1. What are the common themes or factors successful programs exhibit?

2. What institutional factors create a productive environment for biodiesel programs?

3. Can the tactics of successful programs be generalized?

Firstly, I define successful programs as programs that are financially feasible, develop student skills, lower the environmental impact of universities and foster community relationships. Institutional factors that may affect biodiesel production are demographic factors, university mission, relative climate, WVO production and diesel use.

The criteria used to determine a sustainable model will serve as an example for similar universities looking implement programs and as a guide for others looking to establish conversion programs. The synthesis of this model will be followed by an analysis of the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) and whether a biodiesel conversion program is sustainable, and what such a program would look like given UNI’s unique circumstances.

Date of Award


University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (27 pages)



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