WERF selects Drexel for biodiesel from wastewater greases project

By Water Environment Research Foundation | May 21, 2014

The Water Environment Research Foundation has selected Drexel University to perform research that will monitor and quantify the composition of waste greases to improve knowledge about the feasibility of grease-to-biodiesel processes. A key outcome of the Extraction of Lipids from Wastewater to Produce Biofuels (U3R13) project is an evaluation of the economic and environmental sustainability of converting waste greases to biofuels within a wastewater management system.

Fats, oils, and greases are separated from wastewater streams to prevent sewer overflows. At the source, food service establishments install grease interceptors to remove these materials called trap grease. An estimated two million metric tons are collected each year. Converting them to biofuels helps wastewater facilities reduce the amount of energy purchased from local utilities. Purchasing less energy outside the plant will increase sustainability of the plant.

This project will include longitudinal studies of variability in trap grease and scum grease compositions and quantities. The studies will guide an analysis of alternative process designs for separating components of these waste greases, converting some to biodiesel, and purifying the biodiesel.

The Water Environment Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed in 1989, is America's leading independent scientific research organization dedicated to wastewater and stormwater issues.



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