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University of Hawaii, Pacific Biodiesel Announce Grease Trap Project

UHResearchers from the University of Hawai’i at M?noa are working with Maui based company Pacific Biodiesel to develop a way to make water from restaurant grease traps reusable.

Wastewater from dishwashing and cleaning kitchens would clog sewer lines because of the oils it contains. Restaurants are required to have grease traps to prevent this from happening and pay companies like Pacific Biodiesel to remove and transport that wastewater to sewer plants. The plants charge a higher fee to dispose of it because it takes more energy to treat.

Pacific Biodiesel wants to recycle the grease trap water, which would be better for the environment, increase the company’s profit margin and reduce grease trap service fees for restaurants.

UH has developed a High Rate Anaerobic Digestion system, or HRAD that uses a type of charcoal called bio char to treat the wastewater on-site while creating methane.

After successful lab experiments, a test scale system was built and installed at Pacific Biodiesel’s O?ahu facility. Normally, university researchers do all of their work in a lab and are not involved when it’s applied to a real world situation,  the University says

In this partnership, UH researchers and the people who will actually use the technology work together, solving problems as they come up.

The US produced 132 million gallons of biodiesel in October, a record amount that is 75 percent more than the same month in 2012, according to the data released by the US Energy Information Administration in January.

Production in October 2013 was about 5 million gallons more than in September, according to the EIA data. Some 92 million gallons of the October total was sold as B100, or 100 percent biodiesel. The remaining fuel was sold in biodiesel blends with diesel fuel derived from petroleum, EIA said.

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