In 2006, a small multi-disciplinary group of students approached faculty member Dr. Susan Williams with the initial idea to form the KU Biodiesel Initiative. In conjunction, the students formed a sister student-group, the Alternative Energy Society, which was created on March 6, 2007 at its inaugural meeting. The initiative wrote a proposal to the KU Student Senate in 2007 and was generously awarded $15,000 to begin their journey. The funding was used to purchase a turn-key biodiesel reactor and a manual flashpoint machine, the lab's first testing instrument. Over the next year, the team retrofitted a majority of the biodiesel reactor to optimize production. The original system purchased proved to be obsolete, and as a result all that remained a year later were the tanks and a few of the pumps. As production of biodiesel became consistent and quality of the fuel reached ASTM standards, the group designed and built a fuel blending station at the landscaping facilities on the west side of campus. This ongoing relationship has allowed the KU landscaping department to run a variety of their maintenance equipment on KUBI fuel.
As the initiative continues to evolve, it consistently pursues new innovative endeavors to enhance the group's ability to reduce waste and improve efficiency in the production of high quality biodiesel fuel. In the fall of 2012, the KUBI was fortunate enough to be relocated to the brand new M2SEC Building, a state of the art interdisciplinary research facility adjacent to the KU School of Engineering. Their new home now houses three separate areas within the lab devoted to testing, research and production. The testing sector of the lab now houses a diverse set of testing equipment for a wide variety of testing applications. Their impressive fuel testing capabilities continue to set them apart from other collegiate biofuel projects around the country. As support and awareness continues to develop for the KU Biodiesel Initiative, it is apparent the group will continue to push the bounds for biofuel production and quality far into the future.