Thursday, May 10, 2007

Turning Grease Into Energy.

Chevron is working on a cool new project in Rialto, CA which will turn FOG into clean, renewable energy.

(Not "FOG"as in "atmospheric haze"-- FOG is an acronym for "Fats, oils and grease" that are generated as waste products from restaurants and other commerical kitchen facilities.)

Until now, private haulers were paid to take FOG to a landfill where, as it decomposed, it created methane gas, which contributes to global warming.

What makes this project somewhat remarkable is that the numbers actually seem to pencil out, which is rare for most "out of the box" energy proposals.

The facility will cost $15 million to build, but Chevron is eligible for a $4 million rebate under California's Self-Generation Initiative Program. Preliminary estimates indicate that the facility will save $800,000 a year in electricity costs for the city (and eliminate 5.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually).

While I don't know the deatails of Chevron's deal with the city, you have to believe they're getting paid a percentage on that annual savings or some similar arrangement. With relatively meager net construction costs of $11 million, costs can be fully recouped in fairly quickly.

If the project is successful, it could be a great model for other cities to follow.

Chevron, Fuel Cell Energy Announce Renewable Power Plans [Seeking Alpha]