26 January 2008

Bacon-powered city

Is there any limit to the awesome power of bacon?

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

What if there were a way to reduce the city's dependence on fossil fuels, unclog the sewers, and feel virtuous about frying bacon all at once? No, we're not talking about bacon-powered, sewer-cleaning robots (although that would be a natural assumption). We're referring to one of the Public Utilities Commission's priorities for 2007: to launch its fats, oils, and grease recycling program.
Subject(s): Strickland on recycled grease

Tony Winnicker, spokesman for the PUC, explains that one of the biggest problems in San Francisco's sewer system is the buildup of cooking oil poured down drains in restaurants and homes all over the city, which clogs pipes the same way it clogs arteries. "We could collect that, we could convert that into biofuel, and use it to power the city fleet," he says, thus reducing the city's use of gasoline. Besides, biodiesel technology is already proven, says Winnicker.

Starry-eyed grease enthusiasts at the PUC envision a day in the not-too-distant future when every resident and business owner can collect his own nasty, congealed grease in a little bin — perhaps colored canola oil-yellow. The collection system hasn't been worked out yet: If curbside collection doesn't seem practical, the Commission may set up neighborhood drop-off sites. Funding already in the bag includes $1.3 million for the project's start-up costs and $500,000 for a three-year marketing campaign.

If the project really catches on, Winnicker says the PUC would like to build its own biodiesel processing plant. If restaurants and residents participate in the project in large numbers, the city could collect 100,000 gallons of waste oil per month — enough to keep a plant running full time.

1 comment:

Julz said...

I'm in Berkeley, and I would do this. Even if we had to take all that gunk to a central location, I'd do it. Right now, I either freeze it or soak a bunch of paper towels and stick it in the compost bin.

Yes, I know Berkeley tends to be a little zealous in this area, but it's a good area.