Transforming UCO into biodiesel

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From chicken nuggets to fish and chips, fried restaurant foods have one thing in common — they all generate tonnes of used cooking oil (UCO) per year. However, for Thumb BioEnergy, UCO is not a waste product. Instead, the Sandusky, Michigan, enterprise creates value by using UCO as a feedstock to produce biodiesel fuel.
Renewable, cleaner burning biodiesel benefits communities in Michigan – and beyond – with fewer carbon emissions, better fuel lubricity and a cleaner environment. Entrepreneur and electrical engineer Leon Jackson founded Thumb BioEnergy in 2008.
After selling an electronics business in 2001, Jackson sought a new business endeavour and discovered the appeal of biodiesel. “I’ve always been interested in the environment and clean energy. I heard about biodiesel and started researching it as a potential business,” he recalled.
Attending the 2008 National Biodiesel Conference and Expo in Florida convinced Jackson that biodiesel could be a viable venture in his home state. After the conference, he bought the required production equipment and secured a supply of UCO from a friend’s restaurant.
Within a few months, Thumb...

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