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Texas A&M Dining Services Turning Used Cooking Oil Into Biodiesel Fuel

By ( - April 9, 2007

Dining Services at Texas A&M is fueling its campus delivery truck with biodiesel fuel made from used cooking oils generated by the university’s dining facilities — making productive use of what would normally be considered waste.

This innovative utilization places Texas A&M’s Dining Services, which serves 33,000 meals a day, in the vanguard nationally — being among the first to use its own waste oil to power its delivery services, in this case benefiting the environment and the university’s students, faculty and staff, officials noted.

Biodiesel fuel is better for the environment than petroleum diesel because it is made from renewable resources and has lower emissions, according to the National Biodiesel Board, a trade association representing the biodiesel industry.

Dining Services is partnering with Central Texas Biofuels of Giddings and TCOR Services of Rosser to create a practically trouble-free process of productively using a significant quantity of what is otherwise a waste product.

“What Dining Services has created that is most innovative is that there was no retrofitting necessary to our regular diesel-using vehicles. With a simple filter change in the truck, we can utilize the biodiesel rather than regular diesel. That is radically different than other initiatives at other universities which have had to expend great amounts of money in retrofitting and refining equipment purchases,” said Frankie Jaster, Dining Services’ facilities manager.

“By partnering with TCOR and Central Texas Biofuels, we have streamlined the process so that the cleaned oil is delivered back to the Texas A&M campus and mixed with the fuel on site and put directly into our truck,” Jaster explained.

Dining Services Executive Director Nadeem Siddiqui elaborated on the underlying rationale: “We always ask ourselves before we take any initiative: ‘Is it good for the students? And is it good for Texas A&M?’ and if the answer is ‘yes’ to both, then we go forward. This process improvement was an easy decision to make. I passionately wanted Texas A&M’s Dining Services to be on the forefront of implementing such a positive change given the fact that our dependency on non-renewable fuels is too high, and biodiesel is less of a pollutant for our beautiful College Station campus.”

Ultimately, the production of the “Dining Services’ Biodiesel” fuel may be made available to other departments on the Texas A&M campus, Siddiqui said.

“Currently, we are just delighted to implement our own use of waste oil produced in the Dining Services’ facilities,” he added.