A Brief History of Used Cooking Oil Recycling

August 10th, 2019 |  Blog and Used Cooking Oil
Pouring Used Cooking Oil

To turn used cooking oil into high-performance biodiesel, companies like SeQuential use cutting-edge technologies and advanced science. But if you think that’s where the story begins, think again. While this practice is more popular than ever, it actually dates back as far as the late 19th century. If you’d like to learn more about the history of used cooking oil recycling, SeQuential covers everything you need to know in this quick review.

First Uses

One of the world’s greatest inventors was the first person to recognize the potential uses of cooking oil. Rudolf Diesel, the man who gave the diesel engine its name, started experimenting with cooking oil as a fuel source back in 1898. His first attempts involved using peanut oil to create a new internal combustion engine, and he even received a patent for an oil-based engine.1 Despite his best efforts, petroleum-based fuels would soon become widely available and highly affordable, presenting an obvious solution to fuel vehicles and engines of all kinds.

However, the possibility of fuel derived from cooking oil never truly faded away. Skyrocketing demands for fuel during WWII saw a renewed interest in petroleum alternatives, as did the oil crisis of the 1970s. At the same time, as scientists learned more about the true impact of fossil fuels, it became clear that cleaner, greener energy sources could help protect our environment for future generations.

Government Mandates

As attitudes toward the environment began to change, demand for sustainability from the public and the scientific community increased. In response, many governments set mandates for renewable fuel use, including the United States. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 set a series of benchmarks for renewable fuel use with a goal of reducing the reliance of traditional fuel sources. Biodiesel emerged as an eco-conscious fuel of choice, not just for its reduced carbon footprint, but also for its efficient performance and reduction in engine wear.

Since producers of biodiesel now had certain production levels to hit, they started searching far and wide for used cooking oil to turn into renewable fuel. This caused the market to explode, with the price of cooking oil reaching almost $50 at its peak in 2011, compared to the price of $100 for a barrel of oil at the same time. More cooking oil recycling businesses have started operation to help meet demand, but with the federal mandates still rising every year, there will continue to be a market for this “liquid gold.”

Our Story

The history of SeQuential starts before this boom in the market, all the way back in 2001. Our founders, Ian Hill and Tyson Keever, met at a pizza shop in Eugene, Oregon. Finding that they had similar interests in the outdoors and sustainability, they decided to open the business together, making homemade biodiesel and selling it out of their pickup truck.

Since those humble origins, SeQuential has become the longest-running commercial biodiesel producer on the West Coast. The homemade operation has grown into multiple state-of-the-art refinement facilities where we produce glycerin, salt cake, and boiler fuel in addition to biodiesel. Today, we also provide cooking oil collection services and grease trap maintanence for local businesses.

Start Recycling Your Cooking Oil

Whether you’re passionate about contributing to the production of eco-friendly fuels or you’re interested in ways to manage your restaurant’s used cooking oil, your business can become part of the rich history of biodiesel – and the story of SeQuential. We make it easy for businesses to recycle their cooking oil with free containers and convenient pickups to fit your schedule. To start oil collection or learn more about our services, contact us today.

1https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf_Diesel