Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Biodiesel from Waste Grease(ST8806)

Blue Sky Optimum Energy, Inc.


Biodiesel is a renewable diesel fuel substitute made from new or used vegetable oils or animal fats. When made to standards defined by American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), biodiesel can be sold in diesel transportation markets.

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Project Description

Researchers hoped to reduce the cost of biodiesel production by adapting a filtration process for use on brown and trap greases, which cost less than typical biodiesel feedstocks such as vegetable oils, animal fats, or yellow grease (restaurant waste). Although brown grease and trap grease have potential for use as biodiesel feedstocks, several technical barriers (including water content, free fatty acid content, and solids contamination) preclude easy processing. The overall goal was to establish the technical and commercial feasibility of biodiesel production from low-cost brown and trap greases by testing a filtration process, scaling it and its accompanying biodiesel production process up to a rate of 50 gal/hr, integrating it with biodiesel production and optimizing the process, and producing ASTM-grade biodiesel. Although beyond the scope of this project, a scale-up to 500 gallons/hour would be needed for the process to be commercialized.


A successful project could lead to a facility in western NY that uses brown grease or other low-cost feedstock to produce biodiesel with a wholesale price that is reduced by approximately $1.18/gallon compared to traditional biodiesel manufacturing processes. In addition to the economic development benefits attributable to such a facility ( five employees per 500 gallon/hour facility) and a taxable revenue stream (estimated at $10 million/year), the project could establish a beneficial use for a difficult waste stream.

Project Results

Overall, the project achieved the goal of successfully processing a challenging feedstock with high free fatty acid content into biodiesel, but the original process was modified. Feedstocks and products were characterized, though cost constraints prevented full-spectrum ASTM testing. Key indicator tests, however, were positive for ASTM specs. Production cost estimates were calculated.


Blue Sky Optimum Energy, Inc.
527 Auburn Ave
Buffalo, NY 14222

Principle Investigator

Tara Mancini

Universities Involved

Rochester Institute of Technology


Project Type:

Indigenous/Renewable Energy Resources

Technologies Types:

NYSERDA Contact Information

Judy Jarnefeld


R&D - Innovation & Biz Dev

Contract Details

Start Date: 3/30/2005
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST8806

Last Updated: 10/10/2013