13 million gallons of Alaskan fish oil

November 29, 2007

silver salmon, noaa

13 million gallons of Alaska’s fish oil is lost every year.

The solution is a portable fish rendering plant.

The Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) recently sent out a request-for-application offering a $160,000 grant to create a mobile fish oil processing unit. Since the Energy Authority is managing this, a requirement is that some of the oil be used to displace diesel (as biodiesel, blends or svo).

Unfortunately, they didn’t get any applications. James Jensen, the Grant Manager, is currently soliciting feedback on how the RFA could be made more appealing, and then the AEA plans to reissue it.

Here’s some quotes from the RFA:

Every year Alaska’s fishing industry dumps fish waste which “contains an estimated 13 million gallons of unrecovered fish oil.” Much of this is discharged into the ocean.

“A major hurdle hindering further oil recovery from Alaska-generated fish processing wastes is that the waste is generated at numerous geographically dispersed sites over relatively short periods of time in following harvesting practices of wild stocks.”

“The intent of this project is to provide grant funding and technical/business support toward the development, construction and demonstrated operation of a mobile fish oil recovery module.”

“It is expected that at some processing sites, the fish oil product will be retained and utilized by the host facility and/or community to displace the use of conventional diesel engine or boiler fuels.”

It’s amazing that we’re dumping this resource. Alaskans are in a unique situation to capture and use the many renewable energy resources that we are blessed with. Kudos to AEA for throwing some money in the mix to get the ball rolling.

Veg On!


7 Responses to “13 million gallons of Alaskan fish oil”

  1. justin finlay Says:

    I’m a commercial fisherman who fishes albacore for a large portion of my income. Diesel is the largest expense for this fishery and is becoming larger. My pickup when I am ashore also runs on diesel. This year I plan to proccess a small amount of my catch myself. I would like any links or resources you have on effecient means to extract oil from fish, as I would like to start expirimenting with the possibility of manufacturing at least part of my own fuel. Any help would be appreciated.

    Vegwerks Response: Yep, there’s a lot of folks out there like you. That is exactly what this AEA grant is trying to help with, since I’m not aware of any easy answer.

  2. Onjie Cruz Says:

    What volume of catch per vessel are you talking of? The smallest (20 MT raw fish capacity per day of 24 hrs) skid mounted unit rendering operation complete with Bunker fed Boiler and oil recovery system will cost you easily from US$600T to US$800T plus freight and installation. You also have to consider the warehouse space for the fishmeal that will come out of the operation as well. So the US$160T grant is not really enough.

    Vegwerks Response: The details are in the grant application, and it does require some matching funds. But you’re right: there isn’t a small-scale mobile unit available on the market; this grant is trying to develop one.

  3. I worked in Norway as a biodiesel consultant. One of our feedstocks was fishoil. Apart from the smell the biodiesel was actually a lot better then when it was made with used cooking oil. Also it remains liquid in the cold Norwegian winters. To what I saw the rendering of the oil is nothing more then cooking the fish waste. The oil will float on top. You will need to do an acid esterification first. What about this mobile fish oil unit?

  4. Sigurd Richardsen Says:

    Hello Johannes
    I would like to know where you worked in Norway. I have been an manager on a Salmon (ranching) plant, and one of our problems was to get reed of the salmon guts (about 20 % of the fish). We paid about 200$ tonn.
    A you probably know the Norwegian Salmon production are about one billion tonn a year, the waste (gutts head etc) are not allowed for (salmon)food production. Then it might bee a good idea to use this for local production of biodiesel, the diesel price are about 2$ a liter.
    Do you have any information about this?

  5. Sigurd Richardsen Says:

    Sorry the the Norwegian Salmon production are about one billion kg a year

  6. Hello Sigurd,
    I worked nearby Bergen. The fishoil I worked with was technical grade because it was labelled unedible. The edible grade fishoil was sold at higher prices for food supplements (omega 3). Instead of paying to get rid of the “waste” it would be a better idea to render the oil and convert it to biodiesel. Fish waste has an oil content between 4-10% and a meal content of around 23%. All depends on the quantity and quality you are processing.

    Best regards,

  7. Hello Sigurd,

    In Norway the fish industry uses everything, zero waste. Rancid oil (high %FFA) can also be turned into biodiesel. I would be interested in a position, if you have one. Please check out my website on greenerpro dot com.

    Best regards,

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