As biodiesel has gained in popularity so has a feedstock that used to be just a waste product. Used cooking oil from restaurants can be made into some pretty high-quality biodiesel, and refiners are having to compete to get what used to be thrown out.
This story on the Oregonlive.com web site says it used to cost restaurants to have the old grease hauled away. Now, it’s become a second income for them:
Recycled cooking oil has traditionally been sold for use in cattle feed and cosmetics. But the segment going to biofuels has grown in recent years to account for about 20 percent of the used oil market, said Tyson Keever, co-founder of Sequential Pacific Biofuels, the state’s largest manufacturer of biodiesel.
Portland’s oil peddlers are now fighting over grease worth as much as $1.20 a gallon.
“You have processors now in the metro area who are looking at using that grease for biodiesel primarily,” said Mike McCallum, president and CEO of the Oregon Restaurant Association. “There are restaurants who are being solicited for the use of the grease and are getting some money for it.”
The article goes on to point that each person in Oregon uses about a gallon of fryer grease a month. Now, if everyone of those gallons was tunred into biodiesel, the story says it would meet only half of what’s needed in diesel for that state. But I’m more a glass-is-half-full kind of guy. Isn’t that half of the diesel we wouldn’t have to get from foreign sources or even non-renewable American sources? And isn’t it better than throwing it into a hole in the ground? Seems to me that fryer grease biodiesel is about as green as you can get.