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State and Local Climate and Energy Program

Community-Based Biofuel Program

Monroe County, New York

Federal Funding: $225,950
Project Timeline: February 2011 – January 2013

Latest Update

Monroe County, in conjunction with Waste Management, has opened a collection facility called EcoPark for unique and difficult-to-recycle household waste, including home cooking oil. The County worked with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to achieve production of ASTM-quality biodiesel and identified equipment to be powered by the biodiesel. Monroe County and RIT will hold educational events to promote the replication of biodiesel production in Fall/Winter 2012. Upcoming activities include identifying ways to boost awareness of the waste grease collection program.

Project Summary

Converting Local Waste Oil into Biodiesel for Public Vehicles

Using existing local waste streams to produce biodiesel has many benefits: it reduces lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of the fuel produced, while offsetting waste disposal costs. For the county utility, avoiding the costs of clogged pipes and sewer back-ups is an important benefit of collecting and converting waste grease to fuel. In order for a waste oil and grease facility to be economically attractive, however, significant amounts of waste oil and grease must be available. Monroe County, with technical support from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), will establish a centralized biodiesel production facility to convert waste oil and grease from residents at the EcoPark, a recently opened a one-stop collection facility for unique and difficult to recycle household items. The biodiesel will then be used to replace petroleum-based diesel in the County's vehicle fleet, and if excess biodiesel is produced, it will be used to heat County buildings.

The County will acquire the necessary equipment for fuel production and produce test batches of biodiesel to ensure it meets all applicable standards and regulations. After verifying the production process, the County will collect waste oil from partnering facilities, convert that oil into biodiesel, and distribute the biodiesel to the County fleet. Biodiesel production will occur at the County Fleet Center for easy distribution.

As the process is refined, the County will launch education and outreach efforts to promote replicability of the project in partnership with the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute. This outreach will have many aspects, including a "how-to" guide for local governments, a fact sheet about project impacts, publishing information about the project on County and partner websites, a demonstration of the conversion process, and workshops for local governments across New York State. The project is estimated to displace approximately 7,000 of petroleum-based diesel fuel each year by replacing it with biodiesel made from waste cooking oil produced within the county. With time, Monroe County hopes to expand those amounts within their own borders and in other local jurisdictions as well.

Community Characteristics

Population: 733,703
Area: 659.29 square miles
Government Type: County
Community Type: Mixed
Median Household Income: $51,105

Program Results/Estimated Results

Expected GHG Reductions: 60 metric tons CO2e annually
Expected Diesel Reductions: 7,000 gallons

Project Website

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