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Water District Moves Forward on Grease-to-Fuel Plant

A Southern California water district is working with a design consultant on plans to build a plant where restaurant grease will be blended with petroleum diesel fuel that could be used in vehicles and equipment, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

The board of directors for the Perris-based Eastern Municipal Water District has approved $400,000 toward the design of the plant, which ultimately is expected to cost $1.5 million, the newspaper reported. The agency already has received a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The goal is to haul 5 million to 10 million gallons of grease per year and produce 200,000 gallons of biodiesel.

District spokesman Peter Odencrans told the newspaper that the final design may not come back until the end of the year, and that is when it will be determined whether additional grant funding exists or if the district must pay for the project by itself. The newspaper cited a district report expect the project to pay for itself in about six years.

A study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded that the fuel blend emits fewer hydrocarbons and less carbon dioxide into the air than petroleum. The district's plant also would prevent the grease from having to be hauled to Los Angeles. The grease would be collected from restaurants throughout Riverside County, processed at the new plant, blended in the Coachella Valley and returned to Eastern.

"Consider the pollution that is put in the air by hauling this waste to Los Angeles," Eastern project engineer Jalal Ahmadpour told the Press-Enterprise. "They can treat and process this waste locally, it will reduce truck trips and the air quality impacts would be reduced."



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