In this article for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the paper identified a couple of local engineers -Kirk Cobb and Joe Valdespino of Superior Process Technologies - working toward a commercially scalable conversion of "yellow grease" and "brown grease" into biodiesel fuel.
The importance of SPT's work is that they can convert used deep-fryer oils which are less expensive than biodiesel's usual source - soybean oil - thereby transforming unwanted waste product into a valuable commodity.
The conversion of grease to biodiesel has been done before, but prior methods utilize a messy formula that adds water and sulfuric acid into the process, while SPT's approach modifies fatty acids with an energy-efficient combination of heat and glycerin.
Though itself a small company, SPT is part of the larger California-based Baker Commodities, which is said to have plans to build a 20 million gallon-per-year biodiesel plant in Vernon, California to put this recycling program into practice.
What could we expect to be the upshot from this? Simply, fuel for your vehicle at $2 a gallon. Though oil prices have dropped recently - and one would imagine will continue to drop to ensure it remains price competitive with other available energy sources - the time to make a switch is rapidly approaching.
GLOSSARY (courtesy of Wikipedia):
Yellow grease, also termed used cooking oil (UCO), used vegetable oil (UVO), recycled vegetable oil, or waste vegetable oil (WVO) is recovered from businesses and industry that use the oil for cooking. It is used to feed livestock, and to manufacture soap, make-up, clothes, rubber, and detergents.