Is glycerine primed to end fossil fuel domination?

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A fuel currently produced as a waste product could power generators, ships, supermarkets and most of the global economy, according to the UK start-up poised to launch the pioneering biofuel.

Kent-based Aquafuel has developed a method of changing a diesel engine's combustion cycle so that it can burn glycerine, a by-product of biodiesel, at a higher efficiency rate than standard diesel.

Paul Day, chief executive and founder of Aquafuel, told BusinessGreen that minimal hardware changes were needed to allow the engine to run on glycerine, adding that the adapted engine would also slash air pollution, cutting emissions of particulate matter to just 0.93 mg/m3 and emissions of poisonous NOx to 20mg/m3. In contrast, standard diesel engines typically pump out 20mg/m3 of particulate matter and 215mg/m3 of NOx.

Day said the glycerine fuel also runs at 2 per cent greater efficiency than diesel in the same engine, as well as being biodegradable, non-toxic and non-flammable.

Aquafuel delivered the first commercial combined heat and power (CHP) plant to run on glycerine to a development in Essex last week, where it will power 28 eco-homes.

'They have to meet very strict criteria for renewables, but also have very tight emissions standards and are not allowed to use biomass, so glycerine is ideal,' Day said.

Day is looking to license the technology further and is in conversations with unnamed supermarkets and shipping companies about deploying the technology.

'Glycerine has really strong interest from supermarkets, who have a lot of stores and would like to have more generation at their stores,' Day said. 'It's something that fits really well with that type of enterprise.'

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