Look what happened when we combined 19,200 gallons of water and 1,920 pounds of lard

A commercial kitchen wouldn’t repeatedly send 200 gallons of burning water and 20 pounds of hot lard through its grease interceptor even on the busiest night. And a blizzard would make it even less likely. 

But this past winter, that’s what we subjected our newest grease interceptor, the Trapzilla TZ-1826, to — during a storm.

Thermaco has been engineering and manufacturing grease separators since 1985. Because many downtowns have little or no room for large concrete grease traps, we created the Trapzilla in 2006.

The TZ-1826 is the third-generation Trapzilla, with a tank design optimized to retain more grease in as small a footprint as possible. This past February, we tested the TZ-1826 to the ASME standard to determine its efficiency and capacity.

We didn’t expect what happened next.

Tougher than real-world

We placed the unit through dozens of testing cycles in a 41-hour period, exceeding any workload a restaurant would place on the unit. We added 20 pounds of 160-degree lard and 200 gallons of 160-degree water to the interceptor in a two-minute period, over and over again.

By the time we were done, we had run 96 batches through the TZ-1826.

The water passed through the unit and exited the Trapzilla to a tank where we skimmed off any remaining grease that rose to the top. It was collected and poured into a funnel for separation. The remaining water was removed, and we weighed how much grease had managed to get through the interceptor.

But while we were doing this it was getting colder and cloudier. We sent home everyone we could but had to keep our test going. We made plans to work through the night at our testing lab, rather than risk the snowy streets.

Here in North Carolina, we don’t have the fleets of plows on standby, ready to clear roads, that some of our customers in other parts of the country enjoy.

As it passed midnight, the interceptor continued to retain very high percentages of the grease we piped into it. It passed the 1,500-pound mark for retained grease, and kept going. 

Outside the snow kept falling, too. We crossed our fingers that we wouldn’t lose power and be forced to abandon the testing.

Nearly 41 hours later, after 96 testing drops and six inches of snow, testing was a success.

Ultimately, the TZ-1826 held 1,826 pounds of grease, performing well beyond what anyone expected. In a 274-gallon capacity, the unit delivers the grease-retention equivalent of a 1,000-gallon concrete grease interceptor.

Want to see what the test (and the snow) looked like from the warmth of your monitor? Watch our mini-documentary about it here.