Turning Cooking Oil into Biofuel, Student Helps Families in Need Heat Their Homes
Meet Daily Point of Light Award honoree Cassandra Lin, who was a Top 10 finalist for the L'Oréal Paris Women of Worth Award in 2017. Each year L'Oréal Paris and Points of Light recognize and celebrate Women of Worth who make a beautiful difference in their communities. Ten honorees each receive a $10,000 grant to support their most cherished cause, and an online vote determines one honoree who will receive an additional $25,000 grant. Nominations for 2018 are now open! If you know a woman who works to create lasting and significant change in her community, nominate her to be one of the 2018 Women of Worth.
In 2008, fifth-grader Cassandra Lin came across an article in the local paper. Due to the recession, the article stated, many families in her hometown of Westerly, Rhode Island, were struggling to heat their homes, and local charities were running out of funds. Cassandra was determined to do something to help.
During a visit to the Energy Solutions Expo at the University of Rhode Island, she learned that biodiesel could be produced from excess cooking oil. Cassandra connected the dots, reasoning that if she could convince residents and local restaurants to recycle their used oil, the grease could be repurposed into fuel to heat homes — and Project Turn Grease Into Fuel came to life. Cassandra, now a sophomore in college, also helped introduce and pass a Used Cooking Oil Recycling Act in the state of Rhode Island, which requires all businesses to recycle their waste oil.