LEND Environmental is a commercial grease and oil recycling company servicing the Los Angeles area. Founded by Louis Downey in 2021, the company’s mission is to alleviate the nation’s problem of over-burdened landfills by recycling millions of pounds of animal byproducts and used cooking oil that would otherwise be disposed of as waste.
The food service industry generates massive amounts of grease trap waste (GTW) and used cooking oil (UCO). For Los Angeles and other metropolitan areas, the number of restaurants, event venues, institutions, and multitude of other facilities with commercial kitchens create a significant waste stream. The EPA estimates that a typical restaurant produces between 800 and 17,000 pounds of GTW per year, and the North American Rendering Association estimates that 4.4 billion pounds of UCO is collected annually.
To say the least, for grease haulers, there is no shortage of business. However, a shortage of facilities that accept and process this particular waste stream is creating serious challenges. Louis Downey’s years in the liquid waste industry have made him acutely aware of the rising costs of doing business. Limited disposal locations force haulers to regularly travel longer distances to empty their trucks. This means more time spent on the road, higher fuel costs, competition at disposal sites, and steeper tipping fees.
Downey researched ways to turn this waste into a renewable resource himself. After all, fats, oils, and grease can be repurposed for a variety of products, including biofuels. Used cooking oil, in particular, is a desirable biodiesel feedstock. Downey believed that if he found the right technology, LEND Environmental could help turn LA’s oil and grease waste stream into a sustainable—and potentially lucrative—business.
That’s when Downey discovered Greasezilla™. The system’s ecological separation process appeared to fit LEND Environmental’s needs perfectly. Energized about the prospect, Downey reached out for more information.
Greasezilla is a turnkey standalone system that ecologically separates and processes grease trap waste. The end-to-end solution heats and removes fats, oils, and grease (FOG) from the waste stream without polymers, flocculants or other chemicals and leaves nothing to be landfilled.
Greasezilla separates grease trap waste into three distinct layers. At the top is a high-quality, low-moisture brown grease advanced biofuel (ABF) ready for sale on the commodities exchange. The middle layer is a BOD-rich batter that can be composted or used as feedstock for anaerobic digestion. At the bottom is pasteurized water that can be used in composting or sent to wastewater treatment plants. Greasezilla provided Downey with a complete and ecological solution to his recycling problem.
Representatives from Greasezilla answered Downey’s questions about the system’s operation, maintenance, and processing capacity, and offered insights and case studies from other installations. The system’s scalability, small footprint and SCADA-integrated capabilities offered flexibility for both Downey’s immediate and long-term needs.
After reviewing the projected revenue and rapid ROI, Downey decided to give it a try. He believed that Greasezilla could help fill a critical industry need and envisioned the impact that multiple systems could have on the region’s waste stream.
INSTALLATION AND START-UP
LEND Environmental installed Greasezilla at its Sylmar, California, facility in the fall of 2021. Downey selected Greasezilla’s fully-enclosed, self-contained modular configuration that could be placed in an exterior location, eliminating the need for building space. The Greasezilla team assisted with setup and testing of the system, and worked with Downey to familiarize him with system features.
Shortly after the system came online, LEND Environmental opened the Sylmar facility to area haulers. Accepting both grease trap waste and used cooking oil, LEND Environmental offered a convenient location and reasonable tipping fees. News quickly spread, attracting business from across the region.
In addition to processing grease trap waste, Downey also decided to process his used cooking oil with Greasezilla. Although best known for FOG separation, Greasezilla’s process offers the same benefit to UCO—it removes water and residual organic particles to generate a high-quality advanced biofuel.
The results exceeded Downey’s expectations. Greasezilla polished the UCO into a premium, low-moisture yellow grease advanced biofuel, reactor-ready for biodiesel conversion. By simply removing the moisture, Downey was able to quickly increase both the quality and market value of his UCO.
With Greasezilla, LEND Environmental completely recycles and repurposes grease trap waste and used cooking oil from local restaurants, hotels, schools, hospitals, casinos, and other industrial kitchens across the region. Greasezilla processes the waste into renewable resources:
- Low-moisture (< 1 percent) brown grease advanced biofuel, a RIN-qualified feedstock for biodiesel, renewable diesel, sustainable aviation fuel, and heating oil.
- Low-moisture (< 1 percent) yellow grease advanced biofuel, a reactor-ready biodiesel feedstock.
- Batter that can be composted or used in anaerobic digesters.
- Pasteurized water to supplement water application needs in drought-affected areas, or sent to wastewater treatment plants, compost sites, digesters, and some industrial applications.
In only a few months, LEND Environmental reached full processing capacity, affirming Downey’s belief that Greasezilla systems needed to be placed in multiple locations. The critical need to address the region’s overwhelming FOG waste could not be ignored.
Downey discussed adding other sites with Greasezilla representatives. The companies’ shared desire to reduce waste, promote clean energy, and foster a healthier environment resulted in a joint venture targeting UCO and GTW recycling and repurposing. Together, Downey and Greasezilla will open processing facilities across southern California.
Downey’s next facility is slated for LEND Environmental’s Lancaster, California, location, with more locations in the planning process.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Greasezilla is a leading cleantech provider in the FOG separation industry. Greasezilla is a turnkey standalone system that optimizes FOG separation while producing a high-quality brown grease advanced biofuel offtake. Greasezilla’s patented technology can be used for complete separation, providing a purely ecological sound alternative to chemically treating, lagooning, landfilling, incineration, or dumping FOG waste. By running entirely on five percent of the advanced biofuel it harvests, Greasezilla eliminates fuel costs while using zero fossil fuels, making it the most cost-efficient and ecologically responsible brown grease separator available. For more information, visit www.greasezilla.com.
MODERN PUMPING TODAY, January 2023
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