According to Argentina’s National Institute of Industrial Technology, every liter of used oil poured down the drain pollutes 1,000 liters of water. An average person uses an estimated 10 liters of oil per year. A new scheme was launched in Guatemala City on April 15 this year in the framework of the Sustainable Communities in Central America and the Caribbean initiative under the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) umbrella. The project, titled “Collection of Used Cooking Oil to Produce Biodiesel, Reducing Groundwater Pollution and Cleaning the City Air,” will be implemented by Fundación Solar in partnership with the Municipality of Guatemala City, Empresa Eléctrica de Guatemala, S.A. (EEGSA), Asociación de Combustibles Renovables and Guatemala’s Valle University.
The aim of the project is to transform the waste oil from 400 restaurants at six produce markets in Guatemala City into biodiesel in a bid to help stop groundwater pollution caused by the oil’s disposal via drains. All the cooking oil will be collected and turned into biodiesel by Valle University.
Apart from preventing pollution of water sources, the project will also help to reduce atmospheric emissions as the biodiesel will be used to fuel a total of six vehicles belong to the Municipality of Guatemala City and EEGSA. The goal is to use a B25 mixture (25 percent biodiesel and 75 percent petrodiesel).
The Sustainable Communities in Central America and the Caribbean initiative seeks to strengthen the capacities of nongovernmental organizations and community-based associations to build sustainable communities. The first phase of the initiative concluded successfully in 2014. The OAS, through its Department of Sustainable Development, has begun implementing the second phase with financial support from the US Department of State.