From the frying pan to the fuel tank

CATAWBA COUNTY, NC   (WBTV) – Catawba County is hoping to get the grease drippings from your frying pan to make fuel for their landfill vehicles.

The Bio-Diesel Research facility at the Blackburn Landfill will soon be turning home cooking grease and oils into bio-diesel that can be used in the trucks and heavy equipment at the facility.

"It is turning a waste into a fuel that is usable," said Jeremy Ferrell who runs the laboratory that converts the oils into fuel.

The facility already turns sunflower seeds and other agricultural products into oil that can be used in the bio-fuel process but officials say using home cooking oils is better for everyone involved.

The process is not as involved as in using raw agricultural products and it recycling cooking oil instead of pouring it down the drain can save homeowners and municipalities a lot of money.

"Things like bacon grease will solidify when they cool and if they are poured down the drain the greaser sticks to the walls of the pipes like a clogged artery," said Ferrell. "That can lead to very expensive repairs."

Starting February 1, the county will have a container near the cardboard and aluminum recycling bins at the Blackburn Convenience Center where residents can bring their kitchen grease for recycling.

No commercial oils or grease will be accepted. Private companies handle that business and the county does not want to infringe on those entrepreneurs.

The cooking oil bio-diesel program will begin on a trial basis but officials are hoping it will catch on and expand over the next few years.

Copyright 2012 WBTV. All rights reserved.