Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Brown Grease from Wastewater Treatment Plants to Biodiesel using Supercritical Fluids.

Period of Performance: 07/31/2017 - 07/30/2019


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

CF Technologies, Inc.
1 Westinghouse Plaza Array
Hyde Park, MA 02136
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Idaho National Laboratory
2525 N. Freemont Avenue
Idaho Falls, ID 83415
Institution POC


The Department of Energy has a mission to ensure America's prosperity and security by addressing energy and environmental challenges. This Phase II project develops and demonstrates the domestic, economic and environmentally responsible production of biodiesel fuel from brown grease, a waste that is currently a burden disposed in landfills or incinerated. The conversion of "brown grease" from domestic wastewater treatment plant’s fats, oils, and greases has the potential to generate 6 billion gallons of biodiesel per year. A successful project will result in an integrated system that takes in brown grease, and produces biodiesel. The process is environmentally friendly and less expensive than current biodiesel production methods, resulting in lower priced biodiesel. CF Technologies, Inc. is teaming with Idaho National Laboratory, the inventor of the supercritical solid catalyst reaction technology. In prior work, CF Technologies, Inc. and Idaho National Laboratory have successfully collaborated in the use of supercritical fluid technology for the development of other processes. Phase I provided proof of concept that brown grease can be converted into biodiesel using critical fluid extractions and reactions. Phase II plans to expand the Phase I testing and to design and fabricate a mobile pilot plant to develop the technology at a larger scale, and to demonstrate the technology at the point of generation or consolidation of the brown grease feed such as at wastewater treatment plants. Commercial application and benefits of this successful technology will be to manufacture and install conversion plants at wastewater treatment plants around the country to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, land filling and incineration, while producing high value ASTM D6751 biodiesel. The use of the zero value feedstock, brown grease, to economically produce biodiesel improves the viability of domestic production and reduces the reliance on imports to meet renewable fuel standards.