SAN FRANCISCO, CA – October 1, 2010 – A demonstration plant that creates biodiesel fuel from restaurant trap grease (commonly called brown grease), located at the Oceanside Wastewater Treatment Plant in San Francisco, has begun operation.  

Developed by URS Corporation, it is the first municipal wastewater program in the United States to create biodiesel from the waste feedstock. The demonstration treatment plant will process 10,000 gallons per day of trap waste, recovering 300-500 gallons a day of brown grease and converting it to biodiesel. 

The program is an extension of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s (SFPUC) SFGreasecycle program (www.sfgreasecycle.org) to prevent fats, oils and grease (FOG) from being released into city sewers, where they solidify and constrict wastewater flow, causing back-ups and damage to sewer lines. For the past three years, the SFPUC and URS have worked to develop a comprehensive FOG Control Program that considers the needs and characteristics of restaurant operators, city government, residents, environmental agencies and the commercial grease industry. The start-up of the brown-grease-to-biodiesel plant demonstrates the potential for urban areas to develop similar programs to collect and utilize FOG.

It is estimated that the demonstration plant will save about 1,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents a year with a commercial scale facility of more than 40,000 tonnes a year.  A URS-developed, 12-month research and testing program will be used to monitor the brown grease recovery and biodiesel production plant’s performance and to establish a business case that will facilitate program replication by other municipal agencies.

The program was financed by federal funds and approximately $1 million from the California Energy Commission.

URS Corporation (NYSE: URS) is a leading provider of engineering, construction and technical services for public agencies and private sector companies around the world.  The company offers a full range of program management; planning, design and engineering; systems engineering and technical assistance; construction and construction management; operations and maintenance; and decommissioning and closure services. URS provides services for power, infrastructure, industrial and commercial, and federal projects and programs.  Headquartered in San Francisco, the company has approximately 46,500 employees in a network of offices in more than 40 countries.  (www.urscorp.com).