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Biofuel breakthrough


Source: Materials Recycling Week

Doncaster based biofuel manufacturer, Amplefuel is set to produce 40 million litres of biofuel each year, focusing on making it from used cooking oil and solid fats.

The plant, which utilises a variety of feedstocks from waste products, is one of a handful of firms that is able to break the solid fats down to a liquid biodiesel that does not solidify to later cause blockages.

Amplefuel utilise the solid waste fats from cooking that end up in landfill. Managing director Steve Pepper said: “Around 500kg of this fat is sent to landfill each week from people’s cooking which they put into a container to let it solidify and then leave it with the rest of their rubbish. There is no real demand for waste oil and so there is quite a good supply of it.

“We are now in a position to become one of the largest producers of environmentally sound biofuel in the UK.”

The plant breaks the solid fat down by heating it and cleaning it of any visible and emulsified water. The two main fats found in solid fat are separated, treated and then cleaned up again and impurities are filtered out. The result is a liquid diesel that is then blended with other materials to ensure it stays liquid at low temperatures, like normal diesel, which solidifies at around -15 degrees Celsius.

Biodiesel produces fewer CO2 and sulphur emissions in comparison to that of normal diesel made from fossil fuels. But it does output a slightly higher level of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide than normal diesel.

Demand for biodiesel is increasing, as it can replace sulphur as a lubricant in normal diesel and soon all transport fuel suppliers will be fined if they do not use a certain percentage of biofuel in their fossil fuels.

Pepper said: “When we started setting up the business three years ago it became clear to us that we had to find a way to produce high quality biodiesel from properly sourced and sustainable feedstock.”

In Professor David King’s most recent quarterly report, “Biofuels: the route to a low carbon future” (MRW story) he stated that biofuels were one of the main reasons for the spike in fuel prices. He believes secondary biofuels made from waste, such as cooking oil are the way forward.

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