Electron Donors for Environmental Remediation using Rendered Animal Co-Products

Market Overview:

Rendered animal co-products can be used as electron donors to stimulate microbial respiration of reducible environmental contaminants including the chlorinated solvent trichloroethylene (TCE) and the metal hexavalent chromium.  This strategy allows for inexpensive treatment, and increased contaminant transformation rates. More than 100 million people are affected by environmental contaminants worldwide.  Rendering animal co-products converts these high fat and protein wastes into stable, usable materials that can be utilized to remove contaminants from groundwater. Most of the current electron donor amendment technologies are based solely on soybean oil.  These commodities are very expensive and are oftentimes ineffective in transforming contaminants because they utilize lipid-only electron donors.

A Clemson University researcher has developed a technology that effectively increases the contaminants transformation rates by using rendered animal co-products that contain lipid plus protein. By using rendered animal co-products instead of lipid-only electron donors, the cost for bioremediation technology is significantly decreased and degradation rates are improved.


Application                                                   Stage of Development

Bioremediation;                                             Proof of Concept

Transforming environmental



• Rendered animal co-products act as electron donors, stimulating microbial respiration of reducible environmental contaminants.

• Animal co-products contain lipid plus protein, improving contaminant transformation rates.

• Greatly reduces cost of bioremediation technology, providing cost-effective way to transform contaminants.

• Rendered co-product electron donor cost can be 10-20% of conventional electron donors.


Technical Summary

The proposed bioremediation design incorporates rendered animal co-products that can be used in specific arrangements or “as is” to improve the rates of contaminant transformation. In addition to this, the use of rendering co-products including bone meal, free fatty acids, brown greases, yellow greases and poultry fat have been shown to increase the rates and extent of contaminant transformation. The proposed substrates created by rendered animal co-products act as electron donors and are added to contaminated aquifer material to stimulate the microbial degradation of contaminants including chlorinated solvents (e.g. TCE), metals, explosives, agricultural chemicals, and metalloids. 


View printable PDF version of this technology



Inventor:                        Dr. Kevin Finneran

Patent Type:                  US Patent Application

Serial Number:              16/454,995

CURF Ref No:              2018-011


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Andy Bluvas
Technology Commercialization Officer
Clemson University Research Foundation
Kevin Finneran
Energy - Petrochemical
Environmental/Water Remediation
Petroleum Refining
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