In the lab, Ryan is trying to figure out methods to quantitatively describe the purity of the bio-diesel. IR spectra is being used, but there is no reference solution as of yet (other than those found in an ancient tome of spectra). Plans exist to distill a portion of the bio-diesel already made into pure methyl esters to use them for the reference solution.
Ryan is also attempting to find out which type of reaction is most efficient for transesterification- single stage base, dual stage base and dual stage acid base. The samples are being created now with plans to compare them (in terms of soap production, ease of implementation and cost).