Many people are trying to be more environmentally friendly and are looking for greener alternatives, especially when it comes to fuel for their cars.
Duncan Mclaren 2000
Not many people realise that, every time they fill up with diesel, they are using a lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting fuel. Fuel suppliers currently put just under 5% biodiesel into the diesel they supply across the country, in response to a Government obligation which is aimed at cutting GHG emissions in transport fuel.
The obligation has been put into UK law in response to a European Directive, which targets member states to get to 10% inclusion of renewable fuel by 2020. The Government has made good progress in getting to 5%. In doing so, it has promoted the use of fuel derived from waste and is making the greatest possible GHG savings in the process.
Used cooking oils and fats from restaurants and food factories have become an important part of meeting these targets. Instead of being poured down the country’s drains to cause pollution and millions and pounds of damage, they can be converted into the renewable transport fuel, biodiesel. Once collected, waste oils and fats are taken to recycling refineries where the oils are depackaged and ‘cleaned up’ so they can be processed for industrial uses. One such use is to make biodiesel, which can be either blended into diesel or used to run distribution fleets on 100% biodiesel.
Running a fleet on 100% biodiesel has many benefits. Apart from the obvious fact that using 100% biodiesel has a far lower carbon footprint – Olleco has shown that its biodiesel has a more than 90% saving of GHG emissions – it has great corporate social responsibility appeal. Many companies are looking for a ‘green’ customer-focused solution, and using a 100% biodiesel fleet gives their customers the feel-good factor.
Converting waste oils and fats into biodiesel has played a significant role in the UK’s drive towards lower greenhouse gases from the transport sector. This type of biodiesel produces far better savings than the alternatives produced from food crops, such as rapeseed and palm oil.
It is also significantly more cost-effective than ethanol produced from maize grown in the US or from sugar plantations grown on land converted from tropical rainforests. Ethanol also costs more for the consumer because it has only 60% of the calorific value of petrol, so consumers need to buy more of it to drive the same number of miles.
Using a waste product like used cooking oil not only addresses the problem of disposing of that oil but it is an environmentally friendly way of reusing a waste product.
But the UK is falling behind in the use of biodiesel. Germany and France already offer a high biodiesel blend sold at the fuel pumps.
The Government is now considering how it will get to 10% by 2020. One of the options is to incentivise more companies to run their transport fleets on 100% biodiesel. Olleco has worked with a number of well-known brands to come up with a solution that allows entire fleets to operate on 100% biodiesel all year long.
But despite the benefits, only a handful of companies have made the step towards using this greener alternative. Perhaps, with extra support from the Government, others will be prepared to make the investment required to significantly reduce their carbon footprint.
Renewable Fuel Policy
The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation began in 2008, and is one of the Government’s main policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from road transport.
Under this obligation, between 15 April 2015 and 14 April 2016, 370 million litres of renewable fuel was supplied, accounting for 2.85% of total road and off-road mobile machinery fuel.
The most widely reported source for biodiesel was used cooking oil from the UK at 13 million litres. That accounts for 28% of all biodiesel used.
Source: Department For Transport
Duncan Mclaren is national accounts director at Olleco