The UK biofuel industry has been urged to process more of London’s waste cooking fats and oils into biodiesel to fuel the city’s buses, by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
London’s bus fleet uses approximately 250 million litres of fuel each year, 20% of which could be made up of biodiesel, while demand from other vehicles is also increasing with use expected to rise from 4.75% to 10% of all transport fuel in the UK by 2020.
The capital has the highest concentration of food businesses in the country, producing between 32 and 44 million litres of used cooking oil every year.
The Mayor outlined his vision at City Hall to collectors and processors of cooking oil, bus fleet operators, Transport for London and members of the catering and food industry. Included in the proposals were plans to help deliver the capital’s first biofuel refinery.
Johnson also noted that currently there are only a handful of small biodiesel processing businesses in London, with the vast majority of the low carbon fuel being processed in the north of England and Scotland.
It was proposed that a new plant, when complete, could convert up to 28 million litres of waste oil a year, while creating hundreds of jobs and saving more than 50,000 tonnes of CO2.
It would also make recycling waste cooking oil more viable for London’s food businesses and prevent inappropriate disposal in the capital’s sewers.
“There is huge potential to unlock the value in used cooking oil from London’s bustling food industry and turn it to our economic advantage,” explained Johnson.
“By capturing it right here in London and turning it into biodiesel we could provide 20% of the fuel needed to power London’s entire bus fleet while saving thousands of tonnes of CO2 and creating hundreds of new jobs,” he added.
Mike Weston, Operations Director for London Buses commented: “Operating one of the largest bus fleets in Europe we are always looking at ways to reduce CO2 emissions and we look forward to working with both bus operators and potential fuel suppliers to help deliver this.”
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