How Dallas Is Putting Your Used Cooking Oil to Work
The problems caused by used cooking oil are generally well known. If it goes down the drain, it clogs sewer lines and results in a wide variety of problems for the business owner and those nearby. Man...
The problems caused by used cooking oil are generally well known. If it goes down the drain, it clogs sewer lines and results in a wide variety of problems for the business owner and those nearby. Many restaurants and other businesses that have an onsite kitchen have already taken the initiative to start helping the grease problem by utilizing cooking oil storage and disposal companies that recycle. However, what many don’t know is that the city of Dallas is also doing their part to recycle cooking oil by using it to power the wastewater treatment plant. Keep reading to find out just how this works.
The first step in the process, of course, is picking up the used cooking oil. There are also around 28 different drop off stations provided by Cease the Grease that are available as well, for those who don’t have the hundreds of gallons used at restaurants.
Once the oil is picked up, it is taken to a holding tank. Once there, the used oil has to be pumped into tanks called digesters. These digesters, which some equate to giant stomachs, keep the used cooking oil at a warm temperature. This constant temperature creates the perfect environment for anaerobic digestion by tiny bacteria that are in the tank. As the oil is “digested,” it breaks down into methane biogas.
Once the oil is turned into biogas, it is pumped into large, GE Type 4 gas engines. These engines are specially designed to use the biogas as fuel. The engines, with the help of an alternator, create high efficiency electricity out of the biogas. This electricity is then used to provide the power needed by the wastewater treatment plant to provide clean water.
While all of this might sound pretty amazing – especially since it seems hard to believe that clean water comes from those unsightly used cooking oil storage containers you see all over the city – Dallas isn’t the only city that has decided to harness the power of dirty cooking oil. According to EPA, there are currently 1,241 wastewater treatment plants throughout the US that are doing the same thing.
As you can see, there is much more to recycling used cooking oil than meets the eye, and much of it benefits your own community. If you aren’t recycling the contents of your cooking oil disposal containers, this should give you even more reason to consider doing so.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Miranda is a blogger for Greasevac.