Posted on | June 24, 2011 | Comments Off
Mānoa and Pacific Biodiesel Inc. have signed an agreement to collaborate in finding pathways for treatment of waste-trap grease from restaurants. If successful, the project could turn restaurant waste-trap grease from a problematic waste into a new source of useful products, such as liquid and gaseous fuels and soil amendments.
Waste-trap grease, which is generated by restaurants, is a waste stream that is heavy in fats, oils and grease that cannot be directly discharged into main sewer lines. It is collected by trucks that bring it to a central processing center where it is processed into “fractions” or diluted form that then can be transported to various waste-treatment facilities. Unfortunately, these fractions are still difficult to treat, and traditional waste-treatment facilities have become increasingly reluctant to accept them.
“Without a cost-effective way to treat waste-trap grease, the local restaurant industry will be threatened, which would negatively impact both the visitor industry and the community,” says lead researcher Michael J. Cooney, an associate researcher with the Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute. “This is part of the university’s serious and long-term efforts toward becoming a leading driver of sustainability in the state.”
The research agreement is an outgrowth of a Water, Energy and Soil Sustainability research effort at Mānoa funded by the UH Sustainability Initiative and U.S. Department of Energy. WESS is led by the Hawaiʻi Natural Energy Institute, and includes faculty from the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources and Shidler College of Business.