* The Manufacturing Law Blog provides timely commentary on issues of importance to manufacturers and distributors.  Contributors from the law firm of Robinson & Cole LLP are corporate compliance and litigation attorney, Jeff White; environmental, health and safety attorney, Pam Elkow; and labor and employment attorney, Nicole Bernabo.

 A Waste to Energy Success Story

 My posts have generally been focused on compliance or permitting. Today, I’m writing about a very cool manufacturing success story right here in Connecticut, specifically Bridgeport.  No, I’m not plugging a client– I hadn’t see the place until last week, when I attended an event at their facility sponsored by the Bridgeport Regional Business Council and the New Haven Manufacturers Association. But their innovation and foresight should be talked about. And the cooperation and innovation provided by the Department of Energy and Environmental should be applauded. 

 Bridgeport BioDiesel, LLC is a sort of an inadvertent manufacturer. As they describe it, it’s really a trucking/service business, a new venture begun by A Royal Flush, a large, portable toilet service company.  Bridgeport BioDiesel takes advantage of the same processes to direct its trucks, but rather than waste for disposal, they pickup grease from restaurants and others.  This grease  It’s returned to Bridgeport and turned into fuel in the form of biodiesel, which is sold to retailers to be blended into diesel or fuel oil.  Really, though, what this plant is doing is making energy out of a waste product. 

 Yellow grease (essentially used cooking oil) is a common source for biodiesel; it’s also used in a number of other industries, like pet food, so it’s not as clearly a waste. What is more unusual is turning “brown grease,” a waste captured from grease separators, into biodiesel.  Here’s a link to the presentation Bridgeport BioDiesel made to the Solid Waste Advisory Committee in 2011.  Because no one had done this before, CTDEEP essentially created to a new permit, which would allow these folks to take this waste and turn it into a new product.  The permit isn’t on CTDEEP’s website, but it is available, I’ll post it.

 Other reasons that folks in Connecticut should be excited about this story?  One, this is the type of manufacturing that has to stay local – no one is shipping brown grease overseas to turn it into fuel and send it back.  Two, it’s located in the planned Eco-Industrial Park in the West End of Bridgeport, and is helping to grow that part of the City.  This is terrific news.