Gavin Newsom knows a thing or two about grease, and we're not just talking about his hair.
Drawing from his experience as a restaurateur, the San Francisco mayor announced at a press conference on Wednesday plans for the city to build the country's first brown grease-to-biodiesel plan.
SFGreasecycle, the city's free oil pickup program, has been collecting discarded yellow grease--typically the vegetable or canola oil leftover from deep fryers--from restaurants and residents since 2007. But brown grease--the gunky mess caught in grease traps--is more difficult to clean and convert to biodiesel, and is considered a waste-only product.
A $1.2 million grant from the California Energy Commission and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will help the city build a brown grease-to-biodiesel processing facility. The processing plant will produce a variety of fuels, including the B20 fuel--a blend of 80 percent petrol diesel and 20 percent biodiesel--used to operate the city's fleet of buses, maintenance vehicles, and fire trucks.
The city's diesel vehicle fleet consumes approximately 1.2 million gallons of soybean-derived biodiesel each year.
Currently, grease collected from restaurants is cleaned and filtered at the Commercial Waste Oil Transfer Station located at the Southeast Treatment Plant and then sold to local biodiesel processors.
The proposed plant is expected to collect approximately 10,000 gallons of grease per day and convert approximately 5 percent into biodiesel, according to an article by the Bay City Newswire. The pilot program will also serve as a model for other cities to replicate.