PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- With a few added chemicals and some serious filtration, Maine Standard Biofuels takes leftover cooking oil from restaurants and creates heating oil for home and biodiesel for cars and trucks.
"It can be used in any diesel engine or oil furnace with no modifications," explained company founder Jarmin Kaltsas. "It is definitely better than diesel in my opinion."
Maine Standard Biofuels, which Kaltsas created in 2003, pays restaurants for the grease left over from cooking, trucking it to their facility off Riverside Street in Portland where it is processed.
"Once we neutralize the oil and get it consistent, it goes to our storage tank over here," he said as he walked through the warehouse full of tanks and tubes.
Kaltsas says the process of turning cooking oil into biodiesel creates waste, but they don't discard that, they reuse it as well.
"We have zero waste. All of our food waste, you know the french fires, the water, everything that comes out of the oil, goes to a methane digester up in Exeter," said Kaltsas. The glycerine that comes out of the oil is also recycled and used to make very powerful industrial cleaners and soaps.
"It is a perfect cycle, renewable," stated Senator Angus King
after touring the facility. "It is taking something that was literally thrown away and was a real pain in the neck for restaurants and now it is a product. It gives them a little extra income stream and it produces useful fuel at a lower price than the traditional diesel."
Jarmin Kaltsas says they collect oil from over 600 restaurants throughout northern New England, and
"We are about 300,000 gallons right now," he said. "We plan on tripling capacity this year, we should be close to a million gallons by the end of this year."
He says the demand from homeowners and companies for biofuels continues to grow, and he expects his company to grow as long as they can keep getting grease and cooking oil that restaurants no longer want.