Case Study - Biodiesel
Fats, oils, and grease (“FOG”) are produced by restaurants in large quantities and can cause problems for plumbing and sewers. FOG can also be turned into biodiesel fuel. Biodiesel is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as a legal fuel and is better for the environment than petroleum based diesel fuel.
A local biodiesel initiative utilizing waste vegetable oil could help restaurants be environmental leaders while also lowering disposal costs for restaurants. The grease from Bethesda’s restaurants could one day be used to run the Bethesda circulator, as well as other vehicles in the county fleet.
Bethesda Green, in partnership with Montgomery County, is conducting a study of restaurants in the Bethesda Central Business District to learn about vegetable oil use and disposal and how we might help restaurants be more profitable as well as more environmentally friendly. The objective is to estimate the total amount of vegetable oil that is disposed of in the Bethesda Central Business District. This information is important for understanding the potential for generating biodiesel in Montgomery County and for improving the environmental choices restaurants have regarding the disposal of their waste vegetable oil.
Bethesda has more restaurants than any other community of its size in the United States, which could produce a lot of biodiesel! The first step in this program is surveying these restaurants to find out just how much biodiesel Bethesda has the potential of producing.