Lenten Fish Fries Fuel Biodiesel Production in Omaha

John Davis

omahabiofuelscoop1Truly one of the highlights of Lent, the six weeks from Ash Wednesday to Easter when Catholics make sacrifices, including meat on Fridays, is the church fish fry on those Fridays. This story from the Omaha World-Herald says the leftover fryer grease from those fish fries in the area is going to a very worthy cause: biodiesel production.

Just in time for this year’s Lenten season, a savior appeared: the Omaha Biofuels Cooperative, which is collecting used cooking oil from many area churches. The group places collection barrels out back free of charge and picks up the used oil the next day.

“They took a big-time problem off my hands,” [Pat Rupp runs the fish fries at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Gretna] said.

And what happens next is the cool part: Co-op members make motor fuel out of the used cooking oil. The co-op has a production facility in an industrial park in South Omaha, where the used oil is cleaned up and made suitable for use in powering the motor vehicles owned by the co-op members. Any diesel car or truck made after 1996 can use the fuel without modification, the group says.

The article goes on to talk about how Omaha Biofuels has agreements with many area restaurants to collect their used vegetable oil and turn it into the green fuel.