Green is the New Black

EPAa and California Energy Commission fund an innovative pilot project to turn waste-only brown grease into bio fuel. The program is an extension of the SFGreasecycle program that since 2007 has been collecting used cooking oil and recycling it into bio diesel for its own fleet.


In addition to providing a renewable fuel source, the diversion of Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) helps save money by reducing grease blockages in San Francisco sewers. Half of of all sewer emergencies are grease related costs the City $3.5 million a year.

Brown grease is the mix of used oils and food scrapings that flow from our homes and restaurants and is not being recycled. The city has a free collection program for restaurants that will provide the basis of new fuel.

The new bio diesel plant will be constructed at the Oceanside Treatment Plant next near the zoo. It's the first of its kind to combine sewage treatment and generate alternative energy sources:

1. High-grade, road-worthy certified bio diesel for vehicles
2. Lower grade boiler fuel for running sewage treatment plant equipment.
3. Converted methane to run the treatment plant

If we can provide fuel for city fleets and run sewerage plants with recaptured brown grease, experts think we could save 3% three percent of the nation’s electrical consumption. Treatments plants run 24 x 7. Each plant upgrade is expected to cost about a million, making this truly cost effective. What is really cool is that San Francisco has been chosen to build the template for the country. A tool box of recycling methodology that could be copied by other cities.

San Francisco has been relatively sheltered from the economic downturn compared to the rest of the state. We have been blessed to near Berkeley and Stanford and Silicon Valley and those Google buses that allow Silicon Valley workers to work there and live here. As Lenard Cohen writes: we got the machinery and the verse.
Thanks for Reading

Howard Bell

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