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Danbury could partner with UConn to make biodiesel from fats, grease

Through a partnership with UConn, Danbury could take the fats, oil and grease coming into the treatment plant and turn the material into biodiesel.  The Danbury City Council is being asked to sign off on a new ordinance about the collection of fats, oil and grease from restaurants.  There's been a tremendous increase in the amount of material being brought into the waste treatment plant, in part because of a recent DEEP mandate. 


Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says they already have a 94-percent compliance from city restaurants, but the ordinance would create a formal inspection process.  The plant wasn't designed to accommodate the increase though. 


Part of the $102 million design currently being discussed has a dedicated building for the fats, oil and grease.  Iadarola told the City Council this week that the city is looking into partnering with UConn to take the material, and make biodiesel fuel.  He says fats, oil and grease would be introduced into digesters to create methane, process and clean it.  The methane can then be used to power a generator and make electricity.  He added that heat from the generator would create hot water to heat some public works facilities. 


Iadarola says methane coming out of the landfill has been substantially reduced in the last 10 to 15 years because the landfill is becoming inactive, not breaking down any more and has reached a stability point. 


He added that the volume of grease now coming into the treatment plant could be enough to do a commercial operation similar to a plant being prototyped in New Haven.  Iadarola is scheduled to visit there soon. That plant is producing about 55 gallons an hour of top quality biodiesel.  A UConn professor and grad students implemented the technology and are looking to do a study with Danbury.

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