Danbury has broken ground on a $5.5 million grease-to-diesel conversion facility. The first in the nation project is a partnership with UConn at the John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant.
Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says they will harvest sewer grease from the waste stream and produce hundreds of thousands of gallons of biodiesel and heating fuel. A prefabricated 5,000-square-foot building will house the conversion technology allowing the City to produce its own fuel from fat that gets dumped down drains.
The result would be enough to run Danbury's fleet of trucks for a year and still have left over to sell. 90,000 gallons could be sold off to become a new revenue source for the City. UConn Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering professor emeritus Richard Parnas' patented reactor mixes refined brown grease with methanol to produce the biodiesel.
REA Resource Recovery Systems is another partner in the operation. They will submit a research paper to compete for a federal grant that would pay for photovoltaic technology to run the biodiesel plant on solar energy. Iadarola says that would take the treatment plant completely off the grid.