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  • Just a minute ago,

  • this oil helped make a delicious meal possible.

  • But now, it's just some nasty goop.

  • What should we do with it?

  • Well, the easiest thing would be

  • to pour it down the drain;

  • that makes it seem like it's gone,

  • but it's not really gone.

  • Instead, it's collecting bits of food

  • and other random stuff,

  • producing monstrous, greasy blockages

  • that clog not only your own drain

  • but entire sewage systems,

  • causing flooding and pollution.

  • Many places have laws for proper disposal of grease,

  • but we can go one step further.

  • Instead of just throwing it away safely,

  • we can turn it into something useful.

  • And if you're wondering

  • what anyone could possibly want

  • with a bunch of disgusting, used cooking oil,

  • the answer is: biodiesel.

  • You've probably heard of diesel engines.

  • They power farming and construction equipment,

  • trucks, buses, ships, trains, backup generators,

  • and even some cars.

  • Most of the fuel that feeds these engines

  • is refined from petroleum,

  • which comes from long-dead dinosaurs

  • and other ancient fossils.

  • But diesel fuel can also be derived from

  • more recently-dead organisms,

  • like plants and animals.

  • And this type of fuel is what we call biodiesel.

  • Biodiesel is a biodegradable energy source,

  • made from plant oils or animal fats,

  • that can usually be burned in regular diesel engines.

  • You guessed it,

  • it's the 'bio' version of diesel.

  • It's cleaner than normal diesel,

  • so there has been a push to generate it

  • from crops like soybeans.

  • Now, growing plants for fuel,

  • instead of food, comes with its own problems.

  • But fortunately, we already have some oils and fats right here.

  • Preparing your used cooking grease for recycling

  • is easy.

  • First, let it cool down to room temperature.

  • Then, transfer it to a clean container.

  • You can use any old bottles you have lying around,

  • like milk jugs,

  • as long as they're completely empty,

  • rinsed, and dried.

  • Use a funnel to avoid spills

  • and a sieve to filter out any small food particles.

  • You can even add bacon grease

  • and other animal fats

  • or the excess oil from canned food,

  • like tuna or sardines,

  • just make sure it's really oil and not brine.

  • So, what happens now that your oil is safely contained?

  • Well, many cities have recycling services

  • that will pick up large amounts of grease

  • from restaurants and other establishments.

  • But there are locations

  • where individuals can drop off their containers, as well.

  • All of this grease will end up at a processing plant,

  • where it can be converted to useable biodiesel.

  • How does this conversion work?

  • Well, all these oils and fats you donated

  • are made up of triglycerides,

  • a glycerol molecule connected to

  • three fatty acid chains.

  • To convert fats to fuel,

  • they react with an alcohol,

  • usually methanol or ethanol,

  • which produces long-chain esters and glycerol.

  • To compare, here are some molecules

  • of regular diesel fuel.

  • Now, here are the molecules we created

  • by breaking apart the triglycerides.

  • Glycerol is the odd man out,

  • so it's removed at the end of the process.

  • But look at these esters!

  • If you squint, their structures look pretty similar

  • to those of the long-chain hydrocarbons in regular diesel.

  • And diesel engines, with a few small modifications,

  • can also be made to squint

  • and burn these esters like regular diesel fuel.

  • Et voila! Biodiesel.

  • Now, you might be wondering whether all this hassle

  • over recycling used cooking oil

  • is even worth it.

  • After all, how much energy can it possibly generate?

  • Well, if all the grease that New Yorkers throw away in one day

  • were converted to jet fuel,

  • it would be enough to power several hundred flights

  • from New York to Los Angeles.

  • And let's not forget that using waste oil

  • instead of burning more fossil fuels

  • will limit our negative effects on the environment.

  • Recycling used cooking grease

  • turns goop into good.

  • By contributing a little bit,

  • individuals and businesses can help create

  • an alternative, stable source of diesel oil,

  • while protecting the environment

  • and keeping our cities cleaner.

  • And that's pretty slick.

Just a minute ago,

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B1 US TED-Ed diesel biodiesel grease fuel oil

【TED-Ed】Biodiesel: The afterlife of oil - Natascia Radice

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    阿多賓 posted on 2014/06/24
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