Yellow Grease, Used Cooking oil and Waste Vegetable Oil
So what is the difference between UCO, WVO, SVO, and Yellow Grease?
Yellow Grease is a commodity produced in the United States, as well as other countries with established Rendering Industries, that is produced by a recognized rendering process and is typically comprised of used cooking oil and often contains rendered low quality animal fats such as tallow, poultry or lard.
Generally yellow grease must meet the following specification:
FFA max 15% and MIU 2%, often with 1% max water. FAC (color)
and Titer (melting temp) may also be defined and typically assist with
determining and/or limiting amount of rendered animal fats versus UCO
is present. MIU of 2% or below
is commonly referred to as "clean and dry".
Pesticides and PCB testing/analysis may also be required for animal feed
As a fully processed and rendered product, yellow grease is the appropriate
choice for animal feed and ingredients. Part of the rendering
process is heating to a temperature for a period of time sufficient to
sterilize the product, which is an important consideration for animal
feed and may not be accomplished with used cooking oil processing as
Pricing: Generally yellow grease and used cooking oil are the lowest priced fats when compared to fresh oils and animal fats. As a recognized and defined commodity, along with fresh oils and animal fats, yellow grease has a variety of indexes reporting market price. Most are available by paid private subscriptions, but limited information is available for free from the United States Department of Agriculture AMS report here.
When prices for
yellow grease are indexed and published, one should consider whether
the product meets the yellow grease specification and rendering
requirements. if it does
not, then in our opinion, this is not "yellow grease" per se, rather
the product is processed or refined UCO/WVO and these yellow grease indices should not be referenced
solely as the basis for determining price, especially if filtration,
reduced animal fat or low FFA is present in the product. All
of these attributes increase the value of the product and one can
typically expect to pay more for this than for yellow grease.
Used Cooking Oil (UCO): Used cooking oil
is waste or spent cooking & frying oils collected from commercial food
factories, restaurants, arena's, casinos, schools, bakeries, etc. While
the majority of used cooking oils are vegetable based, by no means
should UCO be considered "waste vegetable oil" as there is inevitably
some level of animal fat in UCO, which is naturally derived from the
cooking process, and of course some restaurants cook in fats rather than
oils. Generally UCO should not be considered yellow grease as it may
not be fully rendered or meet the specification commonly associated with
Traditional uses for UCO have been to produce yellow grease
for animal feed, limited use as part of a fuel mixture for boilers or
kilns, or simply dispose of by landfill as part of a waste stream.
However, over the past decade, demand for UCO has increased
significantly largely due to the biofuels/biodiesel market place.
Increasingly seen as a sustainable, recycled and non-food competiting
product (food vs. fuel debate), used cooking oil has become the socially
responsible, sustainable, lower cost, and often only locally
produced feedstock readily available to biodiesel producers. In
addition to the lower cost and sustainable nature of the feedstock,
certain state and national government agencies have provided additional
or increased incentives for biodiesel produced from used cooking oil.
UCO is a recognized feedstock for USA's Renewable Fues Standard (RFS2)
and thus biodiesel produced from UCO can qualify for RIN's tax credits.
California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard ("LCFS") takes this even further
and recognizes UCO/YG as one of the lowest Carbon Intensity ("CI")
feedstocks, and thus UCO biodiesel qualifies for a significantly higher
credit value than fresh oils, animal fats, etc. Another example
is the EU/EC provides a "double count" benefit for biodiesel produced
from UCO, meaning every liter of UCO biodiesel used toward meeting a
biodiesel mandate can be "double counted" as two liters.
UCO products vary greatly. When originally collected,
product may be completely unprocessed
(raw) and generally will contain elevated impurities, water and free
fatty acid levels. In severe cases low grade unprocessed UCO product may
contain bags, gloves, plastic, towels, and any other items which find
their way into the collection bin. Additionally unscrupulous
persons may dump used motor oil or paint/solvents in to the collection
drum which effectively contaminate the oil and render it useless. The picture to the right at the top is very low quality UCO collected from restaurants and has no processing done to it. FFA was about 17% and has increased to 22 over time. Water contents is about 30% and is one of the causes for increasing FFA (water and heat can increase FFA by 1% or more per week).
Pictured in the middle on the lower right is another UCO product. This is collected from closed loop restaurant oil systems and tends to be higher quality than UCO collected from drums and barrels,
but has significant levels of animal fat and/or hydrogenated/saturated
fats and oils. This product shows clear veg oil on top, and bottom layer of saturated/hydrogenated fats and oils. FFA is about 6-9% on this and MIU about 4%.
This material comes from one of the main national restaurant cooking oil
Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO): WVO is simply another name for used
cooking oil (restaurant grease) or in some cases may be used to refer to
off spec or expired fresh oils that cannot be used/marketed as intended.
WVO is generally used to refer to used cooking oils that are primarily
vegetable oil based and have minimum or no animal fats from cooking
process. Oil may or may not
be processed and will have variable specifications for MIU and FFA.
Pictured on the lower right is a product which has been skimmed to
remove animal fats and saturated/hydrogenated fats and oils, and
finely micron filtered. This would be considered a refined
waste vegetable oil product. In general used cooking oil cannot be
guaranteed 100% vegetable oil as almost all cooking oils have some level
of animal fat content derived from the cooking process.
Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO): SVO is a reference to
highly refined/polished UCO or refined fresh oils which are used "straight" to fuel
diesel engines. In this case, oil is not processed into
biodiesel, rather oil is (generally) pre-heated to reduce viscosity and
is then injected directly as diesel fuel. UCO/WVO that has not
been processed to remove particulate and water is not suitable for
use as SVO. Oils with high FFA are also not advisable to use
as SVO as this may damage diesel equipment like injectors. People running
SVO generally have some type of conversion kit installed which heats
oil, either in tank, by injector/fuel line, or both. The picture on the right, at the bottom, is an example of what SVO quality UCO looks like. This product has FFA about 1-5% max and MIU generally <1%.
Uses for UCO, SVO and Yellow Grease: There are many uses for UCO and yellow grease, with 2 primary markets- 1st is for processing into biofuels (svo or biodiesel) often referred to as "feedstock". The second and more traditional use is for blending into animal feed for cattle and poultry as yellow grease (only in-spec yellow grease with FFA 15% or below and MIU <2% with impurities max .25% is accepted in feed markets), Additional uses include dust suppression (roads, construction and drilling), and as furnace and boiler fuel, and increasingly green chemistry.
Animal Feed: Yellow Grease must have 15% Maximum FFA, MIU <2% (with water max 1% and impurities .25%). Animal feed markets typically will not accept specifications outside this range. Most biodiesel producers will not accept FFA levels above 10%. Product should be screened to remove debris, sludge, sediment, etc. If you are filtering, we encourage filtration of 200 micron max, this is more than enough to produce clean product. Keep in mind, filtration does not equate to dry material, product must be properly heated and settled/skimmed to remove moisture (decanted).
Biofuels feedstock: For biodiesel production, specification varies somewhat by producer and equipment. Generally FFA max 10%, but FFA 5% and below is ideal. MIU should be below 2%. Again filtration to 200 micron is more than acceptable but filtration generally is not required.
PAER and UCO:
is active in the used cooking oil and yellow grease sourcing
and trading business. As a trading company, PAER is a direct buyer
of product, not a broker. We currently source from a variety of US
locations, spanning east and west coasts, and we serve markets in North
America, Europe and the South Pacific.
In addition to our trading business, PAER works closely with a variety of UCO collection and processing companies to establish and develop their businesses while providing competitive reliable & timely payments for their UCO payments. Such activities take form of partnerships, joint ventures or invested ownership stake.
PAER holds a valid USDA license to import
UCO into the US, fully compliant with recent changes in USDA controlled
substance laws regarding UCO. We welcome contact from both buyers and suppliers, you can contact us here.
In order for PAER to consider any UCO or yellow grease offers, it is mandatory supplier provides a third party certificate of analysis to PAER. We will not purchase product without a current, representative COA. You can view a sample COA below. At the very least we need to see FFA and MIU for biofuels feedstock. Additional tests required may include iodine, peroxide, PCB's and pesticides (generally required for animal feed markets).
Example of COA is below. At minimum we need to see FFA, MIU test results.
SAMPLE COA ONLY, DOES NOT REPRESENT CURRENT PRODUCT
Shipping and logistics:
PAER has a variety of logistics solutions we can provide to assist with the procurement and transportation of your product. For international import/export PAER generally ships by flexi tank in 20 foot dry van container, or by ISO tank. PAER does not ship international product in drums or IBC totes.
PAER UCO Links & Info
Above, low grade "raw" UCO collected from restaurants. FFA 20%+, MIU 30%+
Above, mid grade UCO 50 micron filtration,
Above, SVO quality UCO/WVO, settled and skimmed to recover only fine, clear
vegetable oil, then filtered down to 5 micron. FFA 1-5% max,