A power station fuelled by used cooking oil has been opened in Leeds to boost the national grid when it is facing unexpected power demand.
The 2MW Reg Biopower plant cost £1.1m to build and will work alongside a 4MW sister plant in Bentwaters, Suffolk.
The Leeds North plant is helping Reg Biopower fulfil its contract with the national grid to provide power when the country experiences high demand and is on the verge of a blackout.
When unexpected demand is experienced the national grid will send a text to the engines at the Leeds North plant, starting them up and getting them going from cold to fully running in under 10 minutes.
Reg Biopower won the contract in March 2011 and building work on the Leeds North plant started the following month.
Used cooking oil is being collected in 1,250 litre tanks from over 400 local authority recycling sites, schools and prisons around the UK. It is then converted into a patented bioliquid, LF100, through a natural filtration process that uses no additional heat or chemicals.
Reg Biopower managing director Ian Collins said: “Recovering waste cooking oil to create electricity is incredibly good for the environment. Not only are our sites producing much-needed renewable energy, but anyone who recycles their waste cooking oil is also helping cut the UK taxpayer’s £15m bill for repairing drains clogged with fat caused when oil is tipped down the sink.
“So to water companies, waste cooking oil is a nightmare, but to Reg Bio-Power it is an environmentally friendly fuel.”
Fabian Hamilton, MP for Leeds North praised the project’s environmental credentials and job creation.
The Lord Mayor of Leeds Reverend Alan Taylor said: “The project fits in very well with the plans for the city in terms of recycling and regenerating local areas and I’m so pleased that local people have been involved with its construction.”