Recycling Facility Turns Wastewater into BioFuel

BlackGold Biofuels opened up a new facility in North Carolina, where wastewater will be converted into biofuel. Though it is common practice for cooking oils to be recycled into biofuels, transforming wastewater into biofuel is a more transient feat and not as common.

The new wastewater recycling facility is located in Charlotte, N.C., and is the first in the area. Local wastewater transporters bring grease trap waste from nearby commercial and institutional kitchens to the facility, where food and trash particles are removed from the wastewater. The plant then purifies and recovers plant- and animal-based oils which are then converted into biofuels.

"Proper grease trap maintenance is critical to the efficient functioning of the wastewater treatment system,” said Jackie Jarrell, Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities' superintendent of the Environmental Management Division. "Creating high-use beneficial reuses helps divert this waste out of our sewers and into compliant pathways, creating a financial and environmental win for the region."

The BlackGold Biofuels facility cleans water prior to discharge, helping lower the workloads of other wastewater treatment plants in the area. Grease trap waste usually ends up in landfills or spread on fields, and has been estimated to make up 60 percent of sewage overflows in the Carolina region. With this new facility, a good portion of the waste will be saved from the sewers and landfills and become new energy.

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