Sewage: The New Black Gold 2/16/2009 8:29:42 AM

Weíre already extracting biogas from sewage and spreading treated sewage solids on farms and open space, so itís also possible to run our cars on biofuel from sewage, too. Specifically, running them on sewage grease. An enormous amount of grease enters our sewer systems - about 495 million gallons annually in the USA alone. Most of it gets captured and collected at sewage treatment plants.

Sewage grease (aka trap grease)  contains a bit of anything and everything you can find in a sewer. That means waste grease and oil from home cooking and DIY projects, restaurants, schools, hospitals and institutions, business, and industry. BioFuelBox Corp. is one company that recently announced a modification in its process for refining waste grease from sewage, to achieve a product that meets ASTM (American Society for testing and Materials) standards.

Their refineries are mobile, scaleable units suitable for land-strapped areas and wide open space alike. They can be deployed relatively quickly where needed, providing   site-specific flexibility that large centralized refineries donít have. They also reduce costs and emissions associated with infrastructure maintenance. By converting waste into a  marketable product it provides financial incentive to capture more grease on-site, before it enters the sewer system and clogs up the pipelines. Sewage grease carries none of the carbon footprint baggage related to growing crops for biofuel feedstock. In particular, it skirts the ugly pricing and supply issues that have arisen when a program of using food crops for biofuel is poorly planned and executed.

To find out more uses for our sewage, check these articles:

  • The Pee-Cycling Business. Urine recycling can be used to extract Phosphorus, Nitrogen and Potassium, which  can then be turned into fertilizer in forms that can be sprayed directly onto crops.
  • Flush your Toilet for Electricity. An in-pipe or in-stream turbine for water system and water current uses. It starts producing electricity even at low flow rates and is very cost-effective.
  • Make Millions, Recycle your Pee. A pioneering biological waste treatment process used in Switzerland to extract this phosphorus & nitrogen for use as a fertilizer, leaving the rest of urine almost harmless to aquatic life.

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