Grease recycling program yields biodiesel

By Nicholas Zeman | August 03, 2007
Select restaurants in north-central California-from fast food joints to four-star dining rooms-are displaying stickers in their windows that read: "Our cooking oil is recycled into biodiesel fuel to help reduce global warming." Richard Gillis, president and CEO of Watsonville, Calif.-based Energy Alternative Solutions Inc. (EASI), which is processing this waste into fuel at its facility in Gonzales, Calif., said these restaurants "are happy to announce to customers that their greases are not going down the drain or to the landfill, but are being recycled."

By developing strong relationships with the local rendering companies San Jose Tallow in San Jose, Calif., and Salinas Tallow in Salinas, Calif., which are collecting the greases, EASI will be utilizing a low-cost feedstock for its production process. The company currently takes in about 13,000 pounds of used cooking oil per week. The community focus of this partnership matches EASI's business model, too. "Made from locally grown crops and recycled cooking oil collected from local renderers, our biodiesel supports the local economy by keeping production dollars at home," EASI said.

The program is also contributing to plant expansion plans, Gillis told Biodiesel Magazine, adding that he is looking to increase capacity at the Gonzales facility, which started production in March. In fact, the company plans to build seven additional plants in California over the next five years. "You have to be considerate of the raw material and be confident that you can secure it for the long-term," Gillis said. "Because we have a multi-feedstock process, we can take advantage of various sources-from virgin oils to yellow grease-and that is why we're expanding."
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