EcoPlus provides a comprehensive solution for managing fats, oils, and grease from food service establishments and food processors. EcoPlus markets primarily to cities, counties, and wastewater agencies who have issues with excessive FOG uptake into their wastewater operations. The final product of the EcoPlus Process (U.S. Patent No. 7,384,562) is a granular solid that has, as its highest and best use, the properties of a green, alternative fuel product.
EcoPlus Technology in Commercial Operations
The EcoPlus technology has been used in commercial application since 2002 at a fully permitted plant in Charlotte, North Carolina. The plant processes the oils and grease from over 1,300 grease producers in the Southeast at a rate of over 200,000 gallons per month. The EcoPlus technology is fully developed and tested, with both state and county level permits in place; it has a history of successfully meeting all discharge and disposal compliance requirements. EcoPlus has a provisional patent in place and a patent pending on the process.
The Industry We Serve
The sanitary sewer system infrastructure throughout the United States is in danger of strangling on grease. In commercial kitchens, this material is generated from the dishwashers, rinse sinks, and floor drains and is usually trapped in a collection unit attached to the facility called a grease trap or grease interceptor. Left unserviced, the collector overflows this waste, referred to as “FOG” (an acronym for Fats, Oils, and Grease), into the sewer systems.
This fugitive material has such an impact that three-quarters of the sewer systems in the United States work at half capacity due to grease buildup on laterals and collector lines. To service the restaurants and food manufacturers, many independent operators collect the FOG from the grease interceptors (for a fee) and arrange its disposal.
In the past, landfills, land application sites and wastewater treatment plants have been the (legal) disposal options. Landfills and surface application sites, however, are progressively taking less and less of this material, due to land availability and regulatory restrictions and so the wastewater plants are the last resort.
Given the massive amounts collected, the country’s wastewater plants are choking on this influx of the commercially collected FOG being hauled to them for treatment. The high-cost problems due to this slippery, sticky, and sometimes pathogen-laced material include mechanical issues from grease-clogged wastewater equipment, and the lethal impacts on the necessary microflora in the processing plants.
The consequences are, on one hand, that wastewater plants are refusing to accept the waste due to negative operational impacts and associated costs and to discharge limitations imposed by regulators. On the other hand, there are the economic, environmental, and political pressures on the operators to accept millions of gallons of this waste that will otherwise end up illegally dropped into manholes, storm sewers, waterways, or in remote fields and woodlands. EcoPlus is marketing into this politically charged intersection where an environmentally challenging material is being produced in prodigious amounts with diminishing options for capture, processing, and legal disposal.
The mission of EcoPlus is to provide efficient, robust technologies for FOG processing and management.
EcoPlus takes this statement seriously, and maintains a constant vigil for alternative uses of its final product congruent with minimal environmental impact, and constantly endeavors to introduce improvements into its product line.