RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - What do you get when you combine two brothers, a creative idea, and an old Mercedes Benz? In this case, a new local start-up business that is taking off. It's called Richmond BioTaxi, a taxi service run on french fry grease.
If you drive behind BioTaxi, you might smell the difference. The aroma of french fries. Explained co-founder and co-owner Joey Anderson, "I was pretty much flipping burgers and was wondering where the grease went and I heard about people making fuel out of it."
Restaurants give brothers Jeff and Joey Anderson their used kitchen grease. Collecting it is not an easy job. Said Jeff Anderson, "We've always dreaded doing the grease runs because there have been times where it has just spilt all over us and it's something you would see on 'Dirty Jobs.'"
They convert the grease through a filtration process and pump it into an 11-year -old Mercedes Benz. All they had to change was the fuel filter, Jeff showed us under the hood, "You just unscrew it and screw on a new one. So as long as you process your grease right, you can run it in any diesel engine."
Added Joey, "It significantly reduces emissions. This has lower emissions than a Prius."
After one month, the brothers are busy transporting business professionals by day, bar hoppers by night. They got tired of doing all the driving themselves. Said Jeff, "It was 24-7, pretty much 12 hours on, 12 hours off. We've gotten to the point where we've hired 4 people and we just added another car."
But they will hit one bump in the road. "This cab is going to become illegal January first, because the Taxi ordinance says a cab cannot be older than 12-years-old," said Joey.
So the brothers plan to add newer cars, turn the Benz into a shuttle, and turn the smell of french fries into the sweet smell of success.
Taxi rates in Richmond are regulated, therefore fares in the BioTaxi are the same as you would pay for any other taxi in the city.