Jatrodiesel implements oil collection, cleanup system

By Nicholas Zeman | August 19, 2009
The Miamisburg, Ohio-based biodiesel technology provider and producer, Jatrodiesel Inc., is now offering oil collection and clean up services for the industry. Jatrodiesel has the permits and licenses necessary to collect oils and has developed skid-mounted equipment that can process waste greases into pristine oils needed for biodiesel production. "It's basically 300 square feet to 400 square feet and sits directly in front of our process equipment," says Jatrodiesel founder Raj Mosali.

Restaurant grease is loaded with contaminants and impurities that cannot be processed into biodiesel, but Jatrodiesel's added technology pretreats the material for fuel refining. "There are basically three phases to the oils you collect from restaurants, which are water, emulsions and food sediment. You need to eliminate these in order to make a quality feedstock," Mosali said.

Jatrodiesel can clean a truck load of collected oil-about 6,500 gallons-in less than eight hours."On the technology side, we have tested the equipment we built, running over 800,000 gallons of raw, unclean, unfiltered used cooking oil through the equipment to date and it performed phenomenally," Mosali said. "Used cooking oil is about four percent to five percent free fatty acid (FFA) content, which stays the same after going through the process."

Mosali said that it has been relatively easy to sign up restaurants, which are very attracted to the collection program, getting paid for a substance they used to have to dispose of themselves. "Our success rate in signing up restaurants is about 60 percent," Mosali says. "A lot of others, like McDonald's, have contracts with RGI (Resource Geoscience Inc.) or Darling International, which are long-term contracts and they can't get out of them even though our program is better, and the benefits are greater for them. Nevertheless, we have signed up about 135 restaurants already in the past few months and have another 58 that we are evaluating."

A part of Jatrodiesel's business model now involves supplying other biodiesel plants with oils for production. "We started developing this system when the cost of feedstock, like soy and canola oil, were going through the roof," Mosali said. "We had to buy oil at reasonable cost and started collecting oil from area restaurants."

Waste grease can be difficult to process and when Jatrodiesel started out in 2004, it did not possess the technology necessary to handle it, but soon upgraded its technology to refine many different grades of fats and oil. To date, the company has either built or provided process technology for 10 plants in the United States and abroad. "We are also now offering a methanol distillation column to help biodiesel plants recover their costs so they can recycle some of their inputs," Mosali said.

-Nicholas Zeman
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