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Biofuel Production from Grease Trap Waste

Award Information
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
Branch: N/A
Contract: EP-D-16-002
Agency Tracking Number: B14P2-0003
Amount: $300,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 13-NCER-F1
Solicitation Number: SOL-NC-15-00005
Solicitation Year: 2015
Award Year: 2015
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2016-02-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2018-01-31
Small Business Information
859 N Camac St
Philadelphia, PA 19123-1811
United States
DUNS: 079094196
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Donald Wilson
 (215) 678-8602
Business Contact
 Marylin Huff
Phone: (610) 627-9302
Research Institution

Environmental Fuel Research, LLC (EFR-LLC), has demonstrated the technical feasibility of separating fats, oils, and greases (FOG) from grease trap waste (GTW) and converting FOG to biodiesel that can meet ASTM specifications. GTW is a dirty and low-value waste from the food service industry that is high in FOG and currently is treated as a liability. The EFR-LLC process uses a bubble column reactor with acid catalysts that simultaneously react FOG to crude biodiesel, remove by-product water, and facilitate reduction in sulfur content. With bubble column reactor technology proven, the peripheral pre- and-post conversion technologies now need adequate testing as proposed in this Phase II SBIR project. For the Phase II project, EFR-LLC proposes to partner with the Delaware County Regional Water Quality Control Authority (DELCORA) – a local wastewater treatment facility. DELCORA operates a grease receiving and grease concentration process that removes trash and partially dewaters GTW prior to incineration. Because DELCORA receives GTW from most of the regional waste grease collection companies, DELCORA is an ideal partner for process development and a potential customer for a full scale FOG-biodiesel process. The proposed pilot process at DELCORA will separate 50-100 gallons of FOG from 500 gallons of concentrated grease and convert the FOG to biodiesel. The pilot process will be used to evaluate and optimize several stages of the process including the reactor system, pretreatment and purification. Reducing the sulfur content of FOG-biodiesel is recognized by the industry as a critical limitation; Phase I results show that vacuum distillation can reduce sulfur content to meet the 15 PPM ASTM specifications; although optimizing the purification process during Phase II is critical to improving overall yields. The proposed FOG-biodiesel process has several environmental benefits including reducing the amount of GTW that is incinerated or landfilled, reducing the management intensity of waste greases, producing a valuable fuel that can substitute for petroleum-diesel, and reduced life cycle emissions of greenhouse gases and criteria pollutants. The improved environmental performance of the FOG-biodiesel process will be evaluated using operational performance of the pilot process through refinement of the life cycle assessment model developed in the Phase I. At the conclusion of the Phase II process, EFR-LLC will have a design of a full-scale GTW-FOG-biodiesel process that can be sold to potential customers in the grease collection and wastewater management businesses.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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