The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

Turning Kitchen Grease into Biogas

The City of Millbrae recently completed a new facility at its Water Pollution Control Plant that will turn inedible kitchen grease from local restaurants into biogas -- generating renewable energy to treat the city's wastewater. The new system, engineered and installed by Chevron Corporation's Energy Solutions unit, includes a grease-receiving station and an expanded cogenerator.

More than 3,000 gallons of restaurant grease -- the kind washed from grills and pans -- will be delivered to the plant each day by grease-hauling companies, which otherwise would pay a city fee for its disposal. Microorganisms in the plant's digester tanks eat the grease and other organic matter, naturally producing methane gas to fuel the plant's new 250-kilowatt microturbine cogenerator to produce electricity for wastewater treatment. Meanwhile, excess heat produced by the cogenerator warms the digester tanks to their optimum temperature for methane production. The grease and other organic matter will produce enough biogas at the plant to generate about 1.7 million kilowatt hours annually, which will meet 80 percent of the plant's power needs and reduce its electricity purchases significantly. "This project clearly demonstrates that cities can develop renewable energy economically, with multiple benefits to urban communities," said Jim Davis, president of Chevron Energy Solutions. "By applying proven technologies and looking at the entire waste stream in new ways, the City of Millbrae has cost effectively upgraded its facilities, reduced its operating costs, created new revenue and solved environmental challenges all at the same time." Restaurants produce an average of 14 pounds of inedible grease per capita annually -- a total of nearly 4.2 billion pounds each year in the United States alone. Much of this grease is disposed of in landfills, where it releases methane -- a potent greenhouse gas -- as it decomposes, sometimes directly to the atmosphere. "This innovative project brings new meaning to the term 'sustainable development,'" said Millbrae Mayor Robert Gottschalk. "Through our partnership with Chevron Energy Solutions, we're taking an urban waste and turning it into an asset for the city and the environment." The total cost of the project, $5.5 million, was reduced by about $200,000 with a rebate awarded through the state of California's Self-Generation Incentive Program administered by Pacific Gas and Electric Company. The net amount, along with maintenance costs, is being funded entirely by savings from the new system and, therefore, will have no effect on the city's wastewater treatment rates. "This is the only wastewater treatment plant in the U.S. to receive and process inedible grease in a self-funding, purpose-built system that successfully addresses so many challenges simultaneously," said Dick York, superintendent of the Millbrae plant. "It's a complete solution that could be adopted in many cities around the country." Since 2000, Chevron Corporation, through its various subsidiaries, has spent more than $1.5 billion on renewable energy projects including geothermal, hydrogen, biofuels and advanced batteries as well as wind and solar technologies.

RELATED ARTICLES

Renewable energy jobs

Global Renewable Energy Employment Surges 18 Percent to 7.7 Million

Andrew Burger, Correspondent Ongoing growth in renewable energy investment and deployment is creating jobs worldwide — and lots of them. This job growth is helping governments address a fundamental economic problem plaguing developed and developing cou...
Beach sand

Italian Company Uses Sun-Heated Sand to Produce Energy

Flavia Rotondi and Alessandra Migliaccio, Bloomberg

Italy’s well-known sun and sand form the basis of many beach holidays. An Italian company has also found another purpose for the combination: energy production.

Biofuels

Who Is Weathering the $50 Oil Storm in Biofuels, and How?

Jim Lane, Biofuels Digest A period of lower-cost oil has, famously, descended on the market, reminding us that business models should always take into account “black swan” economic events such as the battle between OPEC and unconventional oil produc...

Biomass Plant Generates Electricity and Opportunity for UK Community

The Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant, a straw-fired combined heat and power plant in predominantly agricultural Lincolnshire, UK, provides environmental, financial, and social benefits to its community and to the country, st...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 3
1505REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Renewables and Mining Summit and Exhibition

African mining leaders are seriously exploring new energy solutions to s...

International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo

Now in its 31st year, the FEW provides the global ethanol industry with...

Green Energy Summer School: Introduction to Bioenergy

This introductory course gives a detailed overview of the principles of ...

COMPANY BLOGS

Substrate Feeder for Biogas Facilities

RUD manufactures complete, ready-to-use conveyor systems for transportin...

Clean Energy Patents Rise in 2014, Solar Tops others, Toyota and GM...

U.S. patents for Clean Energy technologies in 2014 were again at an all ...

US Energy Grid Review Finds Needed Upgrades Would Allow More Solar,...

Yesterday (April 21) the U.S. Department of Energy released the first Qu...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS