The EPA reports that replacing fossil fuels with biofuels has the potential to reduce the negative effects of fossil fuel production and use, including conventional and greenhouse gases (GHG) pollutant emissions, exhaustible resource depletion and dependence on unstable suppliers. 

A new means for biofuel focuses on reclaiming Brown Grease, an advanced biofuel, from grease trap waste, otherwise known as FOG (fats, oils & grease). The process concurrently addresses the growing fiscal and environmental problem with FOG processing shortages while generating an ecologically friendly advanced biofuel and reducing dependence upon fossil fuels.

Advanced Biofuel from Food Processing Waste

Unlike biofuels sourced from corn and other crops, FOG does not require consumption of land or other natural resources to produce. FOG comprises a large amount of the grease trap waste produced each year by restaurants and other food processing locations. The byproduct of cooking with foods high in fat, such as butter, meat, sauces and cooking oil, FOG can be separated from food processing waste to generate a rich biofuel. 

The amount of FOG being produced is staggering. The EPA estimates that the annual production of collected grease trap waste and uncollected grease entering sewage treatment facilities alone ranges from 800 to 17,000 pounds per restaurant, per year. Combined with the grease entering pipes from private homes and other industrial sources, the massive amount of FOG provides an available source for biofuel while reducing the amount of waste entering sewer lines and landfills. 

How Does It Work?

Downey Ridge Environmental Company developed Greasezilla, a hydronic thermal separation and conversion technology to manage FOG while reclaiming an advanced biofuel. This process separates the grease trap waste into three distinct layers:

  1. Residual pasteurized effluent, which can be safely discharged into the treatment facility. 
  2. Batter, making up about five to ten percent of the reactor contents, and nearly free of FOG, can serve as an excellent feedstock for anaerobic digesters or treated with traditional processes. 
  3. Rich Brown Grease, usually comprising approximately 15 percent of the reactor contents, is pumped into holding tanks for sale as a commodity or for use as a biodiesel feedstock. Greasezilla uses approximately five percent of the biofuel it creates in its refining process.

The Benefits

The environmental impact of reclaiming Brown Grease as an advanced biofuel makes the Greasezilla FOG solution incredibly innovative. Brown Grease as a fuel source offers many positive features like burning considerably cleaner than fossil fuels, which helps reduce greenhouse emissions. 

Other benefits are also present such as: 

  • Brown Grease reduces Nitrous Oxide emissions. 
    • Nitrous Oxide emissions primarily arrive from agricultural use. According to the EIA, synthetic fertilizers, which result in 73% of nitrous oxide emissions, are the primary treatment method of agricultural soils. 
    • Nitrous Oxide is also created when organic matter, such as fossil fuels, are burned. For every gallon of Brown Grease used in lieu of fossil fuels, that’s one less gallon of fossil fuel releasing Nitrous Oxide into the atmosphere.
  • The Brown Grease separation technology delivers a very low moisture, high FFA Brown Grease offtake. 
    • Brown Grease offtake with these qualities are ideal for biodiesel conversion technologies.
    • Low moisture in biofuels governs the amount of air necessary to attain optimal heat to burn for energy use, influencing the length in which a biofuel burns.
  • Through Greasezilla’s patented technology, Brown Grease as a fuel source is well below the limits specified by the 2020 IMO Marine regulations. This includes water, MIU (Moisture, Insoluble Impurities, Unsaponifiable value), Cetane Number and sulfur among others.
    • Cetane numbers, an important quality parameter for diesel fuels, normally surpass those of most seed oils and petroleum-based diesels.  
    • Low Sulfur in advanced biofuels helps control harmful emissions of Sox. EPA data shows that biodiesel results in substantial reductions in emissions of Particulate Matter (PM), Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Total Hydrocarbon (THC). 

Energy consumption will continue to grow. Reclaiming biofuels from grease trap waste provides a readily available alternative source of energy that reduces dependence upon fossil fuels. With the U.S. Energy Information Administration projecting that world energy usage will increase 50 percent by 2050, it is becoming critical to find alternative means of energy generation to support energy needs while reducing the carbon footprint of continued industrialization.