Professor Using Own Technology for Biodiesel Plant

John Davis

gao.jpgA professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale want to build a biodiesel plant that uses technology he and his fellow researchers have been working on.

This story from the web site (in Carbondale, Illinois) says SIUC professor Yong Gao wants to use two chemical processes he has perfected in the lab at his own biodiesel plant to see just how good the technology is in the field:

One of Gao’s patented processes involves taking “brown” and “yellow” (food industry jargon for used oil) grease drippings from fried food and converting it into biodiesel fuel.

Recycling the grease, collected in tanks at restaurants, would save space at local landfills. Gao said he wants to make inquiries with disposal sites nationwide about brown grease. About 5 billion pounds of the stuff produced in the United States annually could be converted into 300 million gallons of biodiesel. The state of Illinois alone has more than 300 landfill sites for burying solid wastes, Gao said.

“It’s doable. The technology is there dealing with brown grease,” Gao said while holding up two small vials, one with the raw brown liquid and the other with a converted clear biodiesel fuel.

It’s a production process that takes up to two hours and involves smelly emissions, which is the worst effect to the environment, Gao said. The Environmental Protection Agency does not classify brown grease as a hazardous waste.

Another one of Gao’s processes uses a soybean oil derivative as an anti-gelling additive that allows the biodiesel to be used at lower temperatures.