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State and Local Climate and Energy Program

Community-Based Biofuel Program

Monroe County, New York

Federal Funding: $225,950
Project Timeline: February 2011 – June 2014

Latest Update

Monroe County's sub-grantee, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), is continuing to explore ways to use biodiesel produced from cooking oil from RIT's food service operations. These activities are providing thesis research projects for two graduate students at RIT's Golisano Institute for Sustainability. The converted biodiesel is currently fueling a widely utilized worker transport and shipping delivery van from RIT's Facilities and Maintenance Services. The vehicle uses approximately thirty gallons of B20 fuel (20% biodiesel, 80% petrodiesel) per week for a total of 120 gallons to date. The project team is also testing the application of the biofuel, rather than heating oil, for space heating.


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The 2007 Ford Econoline E350 uses B20 Fuel

The 2007 Ford Econoline E350 uses B20 Fuel

RIT’s Facilities and Maintenance Services’ 2007 Ford Econoline E350 uses B20 fuel.

Testing Biofuel for Space Heating

Testing Biofuel for Space Heating

Initial test to assess the potential of using biofuel for space heating.

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Project Summary

Converting Local Waste Oil into Biodiesel for Public Vehicles

Using existing local waste streams to produce biodiesel has many benefits: it reduces lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of the fuel produced, while offsetting waste disposal costs. For the county utility, avoiding the costs of clogged pipes and sewer back-ups is an important benefit of collecting and converting waste grease to fuel. In order for a waste oil and grease facility to be economically attractive, however, significant amounts of waste oil and grease must be available. Monroe County, with technical support from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), will establish a centralized biodiesel production facility to convert waste oil and grease from residents at the EcoPark, a recently opened a one-stop collection facility for unique and difficult to recycle household items. The biodiesel will then be used to replace petroleum-based diesel in the County's vehicle fleet, and if excess biodiesel is produced, it will be used to heat County buildings.

The County will acquire the necessary equipment for fuel production and produce test batches of biodiesel to ensure it meets all applicable standards and regulations. After verifying the production process, the County will collect waste oil from partnering facilities, convert that oil into biodiesel, and distribute the biodiesel to the County fleet. Biodiesel production will occur at the County Fleet Center for easy distribution.

As the process is refined, the County will launch education and outreach efforts to promote replicability of the project in partnership with the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute. This outreach will have many aspects, including a "how-to" guide for local governments, a fact sheet about project impacts, publishing information about the project on County and partner websites, a demonstration of the conversion process, and workshops for local governments across New York State. The project is estimated to displace approximately 7,000 of petroleum-based diesel fuel each year by replacing it with biodiesel made from waste cooking oil produced within the county. With time, Monroe County hopes to expand those amounts within their own borders and in other local jurisdictions as well.

Community Characteristics

Population: 733,703
Area: 659.29 square miles
Government Type: County
Community Type: Mixed
Median Household Income: $51,105

Program Results

  Reported Results (as of December 2013) Projected Cumulative Results
Annual GHG Reductions 1 mt CO2e 60 mt CO2e
Replacement of Diesel with Biodiesel 120 gallons 7,000 gallons

Project Website

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