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Oregon Treatment Plant to Use Grease For Energy

June 2, 2015

frying baconIn Tigard, Oregon, a Wastewater treatment facility will use Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) to power the plant.

Clean Water Services’ Durham Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility recently installed a co-generation system that meets 60 percent of the treatment plant’s electricity needs. The plant’s new high-powered engines will feed on FOG, or energy dense “brown grease” from local restaurants, to produce biogas. According to the Pacific Northwest Clean Water Association’s spring newsletter, if the plant relies exclusively on FOG as high strength waste material, the plant could use about 100,000 gallons of FOG per week.CleanWaterServices

The new co-generation system unlocks a number of environmental and economic benefits. By encouraging responsible recycling of grease, the system will help prevent errant grease from clogging sewer pipes and wastewater equipment. By accepting large volumes of FOG, the plant will also help boost a local market for recycled grease. Such a market will benefit both FOG haulers and Clean Water Services. Haulers, paid service fees by restaurants, will pay small tipping fees to Clean Water Services. Clean Water Services estimates that these fees will yield about $325,000 of revenue annually.

grease trap coverThe Durham treatment plant is not alone in its move to use more renewable energy. Encouraged by incentives from the Energy Trust of Oregon and state tax credits, Oregon wastewater treatment facilities have increasingly embraced anaerobic digestion as a means to both recycle waste and produce power. In 2012, the City of Gresham became the first wastewater treatment plant in Oregon to install a FOG receiving and processing facility. The facility is in the process of installing a second co-generation engine that will move the plant one step closer to its goal of complete energy independence.


– Cyrus Philbrick, Communications Manager

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