As gas is reaching ever-higher prices, attention begins to shift towards other sources of fuel. Like for example, diesel that uses the oil “leftovers” from Cornish pasties that will very soon power cars in the UK.
It may sound a little odd, but this kind of fuel – the biodiesel – is actually very efficient. Instead of letting it go to the landfill or the compost, the fuel firm Greenenergy will take over the used cooking oils from pasties, pies and crisps, purify it and then blend it with diesel.
This method is called transesterification: what results are the methyl esters (the biodiesel itself) and glycerin (a byproduct which is commonly used in the cosmetics industry). More important is the biodiesel, that can be combined with petroleum diesel and used at the driver’s discretion with compression-ignition engines.
Brocklesby Ltd was put in charge by Greenenergy for perfecting this method, which can then be applied in its production facility in Immingham, Lincolnshire. Greenenergy is also investing £50 million in this project.
“We’ve always tried to find ways of reducing the environmental impact of our fuel and as oil prices continue to rise, it’s obviously important to develop alternative sources of fuel,” said Andrew Owens, Greenergy’s chief executive.
The food solids remaining after the oil has been drained out will be dried and afterwards composted or redirected for energy production. The company wants to produce biomass fuel pellets, briquettes or simply more fuel for vehicles (bioethanol).