Local entrepreneur converting cooking oil to use in diesel vehicles

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Millions of gallons of used cooking grease are tossed each year, sometimes ending up in landfills.

A local entrepreneur is looking to make an impact by recycling oil, and putting it to good use.

"It seems like the more I used it, the better it is because my filters are not dirty as often," said Eberle Mathews.

Mathews says it burns a lot cleaner than traditional diesel fuel, telling us it's better for your vehicle's engine as well. Through his detailing business in Webster, he networked and partnered with restaurant owners to collect their used grease.

Jim Wang owns seven restaurants in the Houston area. Mathew collects from all of them.

"He picks up, uses all of our oil, and turns it into bio diesel. It's been a great relationship" Wang said.

Starting out with only 15 restaurants in 2005, today he's collecting from over 200, averaging between 9,000 to 15,000 gallons a month.

The grease is heated at high temperatures, separated and cleaned. From there, it only takes about 2 hours to turn it into a bio diesel fuel.

"You got to have your math, got to have your equations, and your chemistry has to be spot on" Mathews said.

He has to follow strict EPA regulations as well.

"I triple check my stuff. There's no hazards, I'm not tossing anything. The EPA and I are good" Mathews said.

As for the way it burns, Mathews says his F-350 doesn't have that typical diesel smell you get from the pump.

"It does smell like french fries sometimes, but it's fine" Mathews said.

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