Great Lakes BioGrease

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Exploration of a 3D business for managing food-based grease from cradle-to-cradle.

3D Design Sessions

The Opportunity

Wastewater Management System Challenges

  • FOG
    • Nationally
      • EPA Pretreatment report on FOG ... a must read to get some of the key authority and enforcement points.
      • "FOG is considered to be the leading cause of blockages in sanitary sewers, and EPA estimates that blockages account for nearly 50% (actually 47%) of all SSOs (Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water, 2004)."
      • "Report to Congress: Combined Sewer Overflows to the Lake Michigan Basin" EPA Study need to understand more....couldn't find any reference to FOG.
      • FogScience Website with some information on FOG.
        • Some quotes..."Grease is clogging sewers nationwide, creating a costly mess to clean up and a dilemma for officials and regulators. Recently, the WALL STREET JOURNAL reported that 75% of the sewer systems in the United States work at only half capacity because of grease clogs. The cost of keeping sewers open, a cost borne by taxpayers at a local level, is a $25 billion per year problem! The increase in grease in sewer lines is a direct result in the phenomenal growth in dual income households who choose to eat out rather than cook at home."
      • Grease clogs in a sewer line decrease the flow through the lines and compromise system performance. According to Wayne Sobieralski of the California State Water Resources Control Board, “The number one cause of sewer overflows in Southern California is grease blockages”.
    • Michigan
    • Detroit
  • NC State Study
    • EPA Study Abstract This is the EPA's listing of the study they are funding.
    • EPA Study Progress Report this is a free copy of the reports findings!
    • Synopsis of study from UNC site
    • NC State Study Looks like it is NC State
    • NC State FOG Study Abstract
      • Going to be published in Environmental Science & Technology....when?
      • Professor Dr. Joel Ducoste | 919.515.8150 | | Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, Professor, Mann Hall 326, Box 7908, NCSU Campus, Raleigh, NC 27695
      • Paper is “Evidence for Fat, Oil, and Grease (FOG) Deposit Formation Mechanisms in Sewer Lines,”
      • Key Finding “FOG itself cannot create these deposits,” Ducoste says. “The FOG must first be broken down into its constituent parts: glycerol and free fatty acids. These free fatty acids – specifically, saturated fatty acids – can react with calcium in the sewage collection system to form the hardened deposits."
      • Next Step: "The researchers are now focused on determining where the calcium in the collection system is coming from, and how quickly these deposits actually form. Once they’ve resolved those questions, Ducoste says, they will be able to create numerical models to predict where a sewage system may have “hot spots” that are particularly susceptible to these blockages."
      • Another site to gain access to Pubs ...Synopysis of Study
      • There was another 2008 study Keener, K.K., Ducoste, J.J., Holt, L. M., 2008, "Properties Influencing FOG Deposit Formation, Water Environment Research," 80(12):2241-6. This is from Purdue. [Properties Influencing FOG Deposit Formation, Water Environment Research Study Abstract] can be found here....also look at the references on the upper right. get a copy of this. 23 Cities participated.
      • Is there someone at MSU Ag Dept studying this from a animal stand point? There was an Ag person in the NC State study
      • Keneer's Page at Purdue
      • Another study ... Aziz, T. A., Holt, L. M., Keener, K. M., Groninger, J. W., & Ducoste, J. (2010). Performance of Grease Abatement Devices for Removal of Fat, Oil, and Grease. Journal of Environmental Engineering, (137:1), 84-92.
  • Maryland County Wastewater Treatment FOG Program....teaming with the State Restaurant Association. Description of the problem ...[ the Food industry faces.
  • Missouri Study of use of FOG for biofuel. Developed the word "grease shed." How it flows...what are the sources. This is what we should be tracking.
  • [ GrandForks City FOG Control Report] Filled with valuable information. Most of the relevant regulations can be found in this report.
  • Technology Providers
    • Blackgold technology for the conversion of grease to fuel. Check out pages describing the problem and it's causes from utilities and haulers point of view.
      • Developed within The Energy Coopoerative in 2004, spun-out in 2007. Developed and sells process equipment and engineering services.
      • Claims to have developed a one-step system to convert high and variable amounts of FFA to BioDiesel. Is this a heterogeneous catalyst?
      • Appears to be one of the few waste-oil brown grease companies to "make-it"
    • FOG Energy

Science of FOG

  • Types of Grease (Fat)
    • Fat wikipedia entry on Fat including chemical makeup
    • Animal Fat
  • What is the BTU content of fat?
    • 16 BTU per pound = 16BTU/lb * 6.65 /gal 1 = 108 BTU/gallon of grease
      • 9 calories per gram (wikipedia)
      • 1 calorie = 0.00396566683 btu
      • 1 pound = 453.59237 grams
    • "Long chains also yield more energy per molecule when metabolized." (wikipedia)
  • Where does animal fat come from?
    • How do animals grow fat?
    • Why do they grow fat?
    • What is the makeup of fat?

BioConversion Approaches

FOG Technologies

  • Types of Grease Traps

Anaerobic Digestion

  • Dry/High Solids Approaches
    • Kompogas
    • Aikan Technology being commercialized in the US by Turning Earth
      • Turning Earth is run completely by ex-bankers. No operational expertise at all, and no units in the US. Only 1 unit globally in Copenhagen. Bringing on operational expertise from a long-time compost operator, and have one Aikan engineer on US staff.
      • The technology is interesting because it handles the composting in the same bin as the AD - so no need to move solids around between AD and Compost. However, it is tying up the process modules for nearly twice as long as an AD only module.
    • BioFerm Energy Systems (North America) and BioFerm Gmbh (Parent in Germany)
    • Harvest Power
      • Founded 2008, from a composting facility with long operating History in Vancouver. Utilizing German Technology from GICON (8 Facilities worldwide), and has garnered over $100M of VC money to grow. First US facility should be operational this summer.
      • Overview Brochure
      • Youtube Video Process Overview
    • GICON
      • Technical expertise behind Harvest Power
      • Full Service Engineering Firm from science and R&D to design and build with a US offices as well in Maine. Looks like a Candian office in BC, next to the Harvest Power folks.
    • DICOM Urban small footprint solution to organic solid waste from Australia
      • Looks interesting, but no US presence. Not sure how compact it is since its first implementation is at a trash transfer station which are fairly large
  • Wet/Low Solids Approaches
Digestate as Ferilizer/Soil Products
  • Eco Scraps takes food waste from grocery stores, composts it and sells it back as one the following products: Compost, Potting Soil, Solid Fertilizer, Liquid Fertilizer. Article from Venture Beat about Eco Scraps
  • Energro a product from Clear Horizons in Wisconsin. "The main ingredient in EnerGroTM Potting Mix is a co-product of anaerobic digestion on dairy farms."
  • Digestate Utilization in the US. An Article in BioCycle Magazine by Ron Alexander - "is a horticulturalist with over 27 years of experience working with compost and related organic recycled products. He has also authored “The Practical Guide to Compost Marketing and Sales”, 2nd Edition (The JG Press, Inc., 2010) and is a US Composting Council Board Member."
    • From the article: "Digestate that is primarily food waste derived is not commonplace in the U.S. thus far, but it appears to be coming, based on interest in increasing food waste collection. (This includes use of old wastewater digesters at treatment plants (wet digestion).) However, if this feedstock is “dry digested” along with yard trimmings, it should be composted to produce a high quality product. If food waste is processed as the primary feedstock through wet digestion, a lot of processing will be required to yield a marketable product."
  • Utilisation of digestate from biogas plants as biofertiliser Study published by IEA based on European practices/info, primarliy from Denmark, but also UK and Germany. Focused on farm application of the fertilizer.
  • Article on Dutch Fertilizer producer MeMon buying digestate as an ingredient in its organic fertilizer.
  • Abstract from a study in Norway comparing organic fertilizers including digestate
  • Study from Scotland on the fertilizer value of digestate
Liquid Residuals
Solid Residuals

Black Soldier Flies

Aerobic Composting

  • In Vessel
    • Lists here and here from CalRecycle of In Vessel technology providers
    • [ Renewable Carbon Management] has a shipping container based system called NaturTech
    • [ Wright Environmental Management] in Ontario is nearby.


Food Service/Processing Establishments (FSEs / FPEs)

  • Trends
    • More people eating out
    • More chains
    • Organic / Green
  • Role / Responsibilities
    • Existing
      • Creator's of "hidden" waste...necessary evil of the business
    • Future
      • Community / Network
      • Feedstock source
      • Committed partners in clean water / no waste
  • Natural Gradients
    • More people eating out
    • Pressure on industry to be "greener" have a heart
  • Types of FSEs
    • Restaurants
      • Chain
      • Local
    • Hospitals
    • Universities
    • Prisons
    • Grocery Stores (food prep)
  • Types of FPEs
    • Food Processing Plants
    • Eastern Market
  • FSE Waste Stream
    • Solid Waste - Targeted by recycling processes (see studies below)
      • Packaging / Food Service
        • Plastic (forks, spoons, knives)
        • Glass
        • Cardboard
        • Metal
        • Paper (napkins)
      • Organic (24% - 60%)...addressed by open air composting and Anaerobic Digestion (see link below)
        • According to the EPA, about 100 billion pounds a year of uneaten, prepared food ends up in incinerators or landfills. Processing that wasted food costs the country $1 billion a year, according to 1997 statistics. There are no more recent statistics for this, nor are there stats for restaurant waste from either the EPA or the USDA. In recent years the USDA has fielded more and more phone calls from students and journalists on the subject of restaurant waste, according to economist Jean Buzby, who compiled the upcoming report. She says that in the upcoming report, restaurant waste will fall under the purview of consumer waste (as opposed to retail waste) and yet, it will still be impossible to differentiate which portion is attributable to home cooking and which is from restaurant dining. Asked via e-mail why the US government hasn’t focused enough on restaurant waste, author Jonathan Bloom, who wrote American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It), said that both the USDA and EPA have too many responsibilities, and studying food waste isn’t at the top of their lists. “In addition, restaurant industry groups don’t seem to want to know (or sponsor research on) how much food is wasted at eateries. Throw in that restaurants aren’t a focus for either organization [EPA or USDA] and you have today’s underwhelming stats on restaurant food waste.”
        • In the US, it is estimated that as much as 30% of food gets wasted. That’s about $48.2 billion of food. That’s shocking at first thought. But when I think about what has been thrown out from my fridge over the years, what I’ve seen at the restaurants I’ve worked at in the past, what gets tossed in school and work cafeterias, and all the other places that contribute to the food waste problem, I can believe it. Source: sustainablog (
        • Food Waste Tracking System Leanpath
        • Wright Environmental Accelerated composting
    • Liquid Waste
      • Water
      • Oil (WVO - Waste Vegetable Oil)
        • Shows U.S. restaurants generate about 25 billion gallons of waste cooking oil
        • Cooking oil is one of the biggest issues for restaurants in terms of cost and disposal. Each year, about 2.6 billion gallons of used cooking oil is generated in the U.S., according to GreenMuze. It is reused and disposed of in various ways, most promisingly as an additive to make biofuels.
        • Sold at $0.10 - $0.25 cents per gallon
        • Solutions Vega watt WVO to electricity in the restaurant. Business case.
      • Grease
    • Energy Waste
      • Heat exhaust
      • Cooler exhaust (heat)
      • Thermal Envelop
  • FSE Communities
  • Research

Municipal Solid Waste/Source Separated Organics


  • Intercept Haulers
  • Trap Haulers


  • What are the laws governing grease?
  • Who's responsible for enforcing the laws?
    • Federal
    • State
    • County
    • City
  • What is the current enforcement?
    • What are the forms of enforcement?
    • What is the current effectiveness of the enforcement?
      • Ohio Report of FOG Control Program Effectiveness
      • "Policy and Enforcement: Ordinances exist in the Philadelphia area that require restaurants to handle grease responsibly, however officials are reluctant to enforce them since there are only two treatment plants that handle waste grease and they are distant. Without good options for the collected grease, the officials are concerned that more enforcement will result in more grease being dumped illegally. There is a direct relationship between enforcement and the quantity of grease collected." This, from a PPRC BrownGreaseforBio-Diesel Report.
Government WVO to Biodiesel
  • EPA Report on Biodiesel Production in Municipalities and High Schools as an education offering.
Local Government FOG Control Programs

When the EPA reported to congress in 2004 that FOG was a major threat to the sustainability of our wastewater treatment infrastructure, public health, and the health of our lakes and rivers...local governments responded with studies to determine how they could control FOG. Here are some of those:

  • Local Programs
    • Ohio
    • California
    • Connecticut Requiring grease traps in restaurants in 2011. The new law requires a minimum 1000 gallon outdoor passive grease interceptor or an Automatic Grease Recovery Unit. The law also requires that a record of all inspections, cleaning and maintenance be recorded and kept on site for a period of five years.
  • Common Issues
    • Fragmented accountabilities / responsibilities ...prevents enforcement
    • Codes are fragmented...building, health,
    • No information on producers
Governmental FOG Organizations

Biodiesel Coops

Brown Grease BioFuel Companies

Doing It

Doing it means the company is actively processing trap/brown grease and making a marketable fuel (Biodiesel, BioBunker Oil, Methane, etc.)

Working On It

Working On It means the company is actively pursuing processing trap/brown grease to make a marketable fuel (Biodiesel, BioBunker Oil, Methane, etc.)

  • Pacific Biofuels [1] - In a phone conversation, company indicated a trap grease to biodiesel facility is being contructed to come online Q1 2012.
  • [ BlackGold Biofuels] (Philadelphia, PA) - they may be Doing It, but only have one installation, so the jury is still out.
    • Used to be Philadelphia Fry-o-Diesel, Inc.
    • Founded in 2004, Philadelphia Fry-o-Diesel (PFoD) has developed patent-pending technology for the conversion of extremely distressed waste greases, like trap grease, into high quality diesel fuel. PFoD owns and operates a pilot plant in North Philadelphia demonstrating this technology.
    • Is a technology provider for the SF Greasecycle Project, but according to conversations with Pacific Biodiesel, the biodiesel production is not working yet.
  • TDA Research, Inc. (Wheat Ridge, CO)
  • SF Greasecycle
    • Difficult history - 5 years to get it running. Details Here
      • Was SFPUC together with Metcalf & Eddy, Inc, and technology providers Superior Process Technologies and WesTech Engineering. All fell through. Finished with URS, Pacific Biodiesel, and Blackgold Biofuels.
    • An Article on the SF Greasecycle Program in Municipal Sewer and Water Magazine -, February 2010
      • SF is mandating restaurant participation, stiffening regs, and using what it calls a business solution with a carrot and stick regulatory approach.
    • A Report from URS on the SFPUC program for the Puget Sound Brown Grease Symposium
On Hold

On Hold means the company was Doing It or was Working On It, but is not anymore

  • Liquid Environmental Solutions (Phoenix, AZ)
    • Appears they are not focusing on this area any more.
  • Hydrasep, Inc. (Hernando, MS)
    • Looks like they are not focusing on this brown grease area. Too busy trying to get oil out of the gulf.
    • Don't think they get to #6 fuel.
  • Ever Green Renewable Energy Distribution in Vermont.
    • Ever Green Recovered Energy Distribution, Inc. specializes in the distribution of recovered liquid waste resources. We work as a market access point for recovered fats and oils, and provide them to business and industry for use as raw materials and energy alternatives!
    • Ever Green RED has working relationships with grease trap service companies and municipal waste water treatment facilities throughout the Eastern US. We provide these low quality oils to cutting edge fuel producers and believe below standard grease and FOG are the commodities of the future.
    • Nic talked to Seth, the COO. He indicated they do almost all recycled Yellow. Seth indicated he spent 500 hours researching brown grease, and basically gave up. His advice was to approach a business as a wastewater treatment facility first (96% of the waste is water) and a grease business on the side (4%).

Graveyard means the company is no longer with us or is "walking dead"

  • Ecoplus Replaced entire management team, and is now run by a banker. Publicly traded OTC: ECPL but may be delisted by now.
  • BioFuelBox Goes Bust
  • Planet Resource Recovery, Inc. (Houston, TX)
    • Loosing money very quickly....not long for this financial world
    • Lost $15.5 million
  • Recovery Solutions, Inc. (Modesto, CA)
    • Not in business any more.
  • NOVA Biosource Fuels, Inc. (Butte, MT)
    • Don't have a website any more.
    • Expect they are history.
To be categorized
  • Hydrasep, Inc. (Hernando, MS)
    • Looks like they are not focusing on this brown grease area. Too busy trying to get oil out of the gulf.
    • Don't think they get to #6 fuel.
  • Liquid Environmental Solutions (Phoenix, AZ)
    • Appears they are not focusing on this area any more.
  • Renewable Products Development Laboratories, Inc. (Milwaukie, OR) became Biomass Renewable Technologies
    • In biodiesel, but not brown grease. It looks like a one man consutling show, and the CEO looks very accomplished. Could be a good contact/resource at some point.
  • UOP, LLC (Des Plaines, IL) Maybe. They are working on Green Fuels which use petroleum process technology to convert "green" feedstocks into petroleum substitutes.
    • A Presentation on the whole thing from a Jeffries 2010 Cleantech conference.
  • North American Biofuels Company (NABFC) Through NABFC's unique refining method, one gallon of trap grease produces nearly one gallon of renewable energy in the form of a gallon of biodiesel.‖ NABFC partners with, Russell Reid who provides special trucks to haul grease to processing facilities.
  • Resodyne; Butte, MT
    • Several years ago, Resodyne worked with Kenosha Beef to produce a system to make biodiesel from trap grease as well as beef tallow and other waste greases (all chemically the same). This technology was sold to

Kenosha Beef, who now licenses it to would-be purchasers.

    • Kenosha Beef has six plants and is the third largest biodiesel manufacturer in the U.S. The smallest quantity practical for this technology is 10 million gallons/year.
    • There are 10 separate pre-treatment steps that grease may go through to make it clean enough to process into biodiesel. The steps are modified depending on the impurities that need to be removed.
    • Currently Resodyne’s research is focused on higher value production options for trap grease- such as bio-lubricants. This technology is not ready for the market yet.
  • BioLyle Homebrewing site, and not using waste grease.
  • Imperium Biodiesel Was once the biggest facility in US (100Mgy). Shut down for a while. Back up and under-capacity. Apparently sses virgin oils only.
  • Standard Biodiesel Very simple website with little info. Appears they are running, but not verifiable. Likely not using brown grease anyway.

Grease/Oil Sources and Economics

  • As Price of Crude Rises, Thieves Target Fryer Grease April 27, 2011 Article about Grease Thefts.
    • This suggests that there is a robust market for grease, but at the same time, Hoover and Gadsden Alabama are able to get their oil for free.
    • The assumption is that the more rural the area, the less likely the Yellow Grease/WVO market is to be active.
    • Another assumption is that as the restaurants get smaller, they are less likely to be serviced by the existing WVO market.
    • Further, Detroit is assumed to be in an active WVO market, and the chances of getting it free are low. Kelly's Rendering and Restaurant Technologies, Inc. are active in the area.
  • BWI: Burt Waste Inc: Speaking with Frank Burt on 7/21/11, Frank indicated brown grease going as high as 39c/per pound which is roughly $2.80 per gallon (7lbs/gallon). This causes separator operating companies to use natural gas to fire the separator because the oil is more valuable.

FOG Anaerobic Digestion

Food Anaerobic Digestion

Biofuel Users

  • Organizations
  • #6 Bunker Biofuels
    • Conversations (7/19-20/2011)with Kurt Robinson; Michigan Marine Terminal, 225 Marion Ave, River Rouge, MI 48218...(313) 841-6100
      • From his contacts at local refinery, the wholesale price for low sulfur #6 fuel is $1.60 - 1.80 per gallon.
      • Their company markets fuel...can do some mixing?
      • There is still a small, but steady demand for #6
      • To be low sulfur it would need to be < 500ppm, preferably <380ppm.
      • Natural gas is eating away at #6 bunker fuel's cheap and clean
      • 300,000 gallons of #6 per year is not a lot of fuel....compared to the overall demand for even just freighters.
      • Would recommend an application like a large industrial facility that has the air scrubbers and air permits...they have the equipment to clean the air. It #6 is not a clean fuel from an air quality standpoint!
      • Asked whether the fuel is ASTM certified
      • Freighters require a special blend...for BTU requirements and viscosity.
      • Will call contacts who sell #6 wholesale to find out what it sells for wholesale.
    • Great Lakes Freighters
      • Keith from Purvis and Fosters...
        • "they are using #6, #4 and #2 diesel fuel."
        • Call Michigan Marine Terminal, 225 Marion Ave, River Rouge, MI 48218...(313) 842-8040 (see comments above)
        • Also a fueling station behind the Sterski Power Plant (??)
      • Found Sterling Marine Fuels in Windsor (3565 Russell St, Windsor, ON N9C 1E8 519-256-5403)
      • EPA putting pressure on Great Lake Freighters to switch to diesel...Washington Post 2009
      • Canada's influence on fuel choice
        • "Low-sulphur fuel costs 70% to 250% more than what is now being used, and the letter warned that the extra costs might lead to some freight now moved by ship to be switched to rail cars or trucks, with the environmental drawback of increased greenhouse-gas emissions." This is the opportunity!!
      • Freighter fuel efficiency and demands
        • "The environmental efficiency of Great Lakes shipping cannot be matched. A 1993 study by the Great Lakes Commission of eleven trade routes on the Great Lakes showed that by utilizing ships, we save 14 million gallons of fuel and reduce emissions by more than 4,300 tons. Roughly 500,000 tons of cement tons is delivered to Detroit from Alpena by lake freighters using approximately 800,000 gallons of fuel compared with roughly 2,000,000 gallons of fuel if these same shipments traveled by truck." from Detroit Port Authority website.
        • We are targeting producing 300,000 gallons annually....this would be 37.5% of the fuel to ship cement annually!
      • Boat Nerd Learn about all the Great Lake freighters
  • Biodiesel
    • Refuel the trucks that deliver FOG
    • "Biodiesel has virtually no sulfur content, and it is often used as an additive to Ultra-Low Sulphur Diesel (ULSD) fuel to aid with lubrication, as the sulfur compounds in petrodiesel provide much of the lubricity." wikipedia
    • Another idea...Biodiesel from used coffee grounds - "Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno, have successfully produced biodiesel from oil derived from used coffee grounds. Their analysis of the used grounds showed a 10% to 15% oil content (by weight). Once the oil was extracted, it underwent conventional processing into biodiesel. It is estimated that finished biodiesel could be produced for about one US dollar per gallon. Further, it was reported that "the technique is not difficult" and that "there is so much coffee around that several hundred million gallons of biodiesel could potentially be made annually." However, even if all the coffee grounds in the world were used to make fuel, the amount produced would be less than 1 percent of the diesel used in the United States annually. “It won’t solve the world’s energy problem,” Dr. Misra said of his work." wikipedia.
  • Methane
    • Combined Heat and Power (CHP)... wikipedia CHP
      • CHP Overview
        • 10% - 33% efficient in electricity generation: Small systems are at the 10% end...need larger systems (see 2g) to get to 33%. Power plants near 30%.
        • Combined 80% - 90% efficient: that is power (electricity) plus heat.
      • Examples
        • Marathon Engine out of Wisconsin, many installs in Germany. Very small footprint...scaleable in series.
        • 2G Cogen very high efficiency 33% for electricity generation.
        • Vegawatt includes business case.
    • Electric only
    • Methane to Methanol conversion

Sludge from Waste Water Treatment Plants

  • Great overview of Anaerobic and Aerobic Digestion in wastewater treatment. A slideshare presentation.
  • European Report on Disposal and Recycling Routes for Sewage Sludge
    • Interesting, that it does not include anaerobic digestion as a disposal path. Perhaps, that is because AD is not a final destination, only an intermediate step to stabilize and deodorize the sludge.
  • Advanced Anaerobic Digestion Article in Renewable Energy World from 2009.
    • This does substantiate the AD treatment of sludge in Europe. Interesting that land application is preferred in UK and by EU, and by US EPA, but all of them disregard heavy metals and other toxins.
  • The Wikipedia Sludge Page has some very interesting info linked throughout the article. Land application of sewage sludge seems preferred by EPA, but many studies ave raised questions of major health concerns. No study though with enough weight to prevent the use. Also, the stuff used to be dumped in the ocean, but was banned outright by EPA because of negative environmental effects. Odd then, that we would move the problem onto land, and mix the problem with our food supply.
  • MicroSludge Paradigm has developed MicroSludge®, a patented waste-to-energy technology for municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants. MicroSludge is a patented product designed for wastewater treatment plants to reduce sludge for disposal and enable the generation of renewable energy and valuable bio-chemicals. It works by significantly enhancing the performance of anaerobic digesters to convert sludge to biogas and to increase the capacity of existing infrastructure.
  • United Sludge-Free Allianceg Plethora of information on the uses and dangers of Sewage Sludge being applied to farms, playgrounds, gulf courses, etc.
  • System-View Concept of Sludge Use
  • heavy metals Evaluating Metals in Wastewater Sludge. An article from 1976 about metal content and some removal tecniques.
  • Accelerated Anaerobic Digestion study from the Netherlands.
  • [ Food Waste AD] doc from US EPA.

Glycerin from Biodiesel

Great Lakes Water Organizations

The Neighborhood

Economic Development Resources

Urban Agriculture


"When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization." Daniel Webster

  • Generally, Urban Agriculture in the United States has grown in response to these drivers
    • De-industrialization leads to population loss and high unemployment in cities large and small
    • With these phenomenon come dilapidated and vacant former industrial, commercial, and residential properties causing severe blight
    • Poverty is prevalent in these areas as well (the jobs left with the industry), and "food deserts" typically accompany poverty
      • Food Deserts refer to urban areas where no fresh produce is available for purchase within a distance roughly considered "walking distance."
  • Urban Agriculture then, is a response to all these conditions at once.
    • It is a relatively simple way to put vacant land into some form of productive use and to reduce blight.
    • It provides food in urban centers, which if the scale of urban farming grows enough, can help to address the food deserts.
    • When practiced directly by affected individuals, it can directly alleviate the food desert issue, and excess produce can be sold.
  • It seems quite natural that a city in decline will basically return full circle to the most basic of arts - farming.
  • Urban Agriculture is closely related to community gardening, and often grows out of a community gardening movement.
  • Often times, UA has a youth education focus, and/or a jobs and life skills training geared for unemployed adults.
  • Urban Agriculture is almost exclusively non-profit, however, individuals can make a living

Examples and Who

  • In Detroit
    • Earthworks Urban Farm
    • Detroit Black Food Security Network
    • Urban Farming
      • The Urban Farming™ mission is to create an abundance of food for people in need by supporting and encouraging the establishment of gardens on unused land and space while increasing diversity, raising awareness for health and wellness, and inspiring and educating youth, adults and seniors to create an economically sustainable system to uplift communities around the globe.
    • Article about a proposed tilapia and fruits and vegetables farm at cite of former Northeastern High School. teh Erb Family Foundation made a $1 Million grant for the project's umbrella organization to get it going.
  • Elsewhere


For Profit Urban Farming


Examples and Who

  • In Detroit
    • Brother Nature Farms; Greg Willerer - Friend of the Green Garage
    • John Hantz and the well traveled story of Hantz Farms in Detroit
      • According to this opinion piece in the Detroit News, after four years the crops being proposed are Oak Trees. The idea is to get residents used to the trees, and then sell the oak saplings and plant an apple orchard.
      • Interestingly, according to the article, "Hantz Farms planted 900 oak tree seedlings on an acre-and-a-half, trees that won't be harvested for two decades. That project, while modest, proves his point: The remaining neighbors are no longer dumping on the property, and are taking greater pride in lawns and homes. Tires and debris are gone. "You can see more pride of ownership there now," says Brian Holdwick, executive vice-president of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., which is managing the city's land sale."
  • Elsewhere
    • Big City Farms Indianapolis
      • Big City Farms converts vacant urban lots to vegetable and fruit producing gardens. We are currently farming eleven lots on the near east side of Indianapolis.
      • Sells CSA shares at two rates (Market and Fair Wage) which buyers are free to choose. Also sells to local restaurants
      • Is self-described as "Low Profit" and is highly supported by volunteers
    • Village Farms of Buffalo. This was a ~20 Acre urban greenhouse run for profit. It was a big economic development story for Buffalo, but the company moved those operations to Texas. They cited lack of winter sun and the high summer heat as obstacles. Moved to the high elevations of west Texas (no water is apparently no a concern)
    • Annex Organics was a business growing greenhouse tomatoes on urban rooftops. Since acquired by Field To Table.
    • Field To Table. A food ecosystem consultancy and incubator



  • Backyard Farms. ~25 acre greenhouse in Maine that grows tomatoes for the New England Area



Other Links

Thoughts / Ideas

  • Capture / control at the source
    • How can we forecast how much grease a FSE will produce and then establish the timing of the grease pickup?
    • How do you measure when the interceptor or trap is full?
    • How can you tell if a FSE is dumping grease...overflow?
  • Draw the natural flow
  • Why has everything failed?

Follow-Up / Next Steps

Follow-Up / Next Steps