Search Results for: biodiesel

London Buses Biodiesel Supplier Wins Award

September 2016: TfL announced in December 2015 that one third of London’s buses were to run on waste fats and oils, with two bus operators, Stagecoach and Metroline, signing deals with Argent Energy to supply them with B20 green diesel.

And, it’s just been announced that Argent Energy “has won two awards at the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) Low Carbon Champions Awards 2016: the Low Carbon Fuel Initiative of the Year Award and the highest accolade, the Grand Prix, or Winner of Winners, Award” – as reported in Biodiesel Magazine.

The article sets out that “Argent only uses wastes for biodiesel and is the most sustainable producer in the U.K. The company has introduced high GHG-saving fuel into London in support of its challenging climate change targets. Argent captured the potential of biodiesel from waste as a drop-in replacement fuel without the need for vehicle modification. The fuel is priced around the same level as standard diesel, and sometimes cheaper.

“Argent is not only working with the GLA and Transport for London to reach their target of B20 (high bio-blend diesel) in all London diesel buses by 2020, but has engaged with other U.K. cities. The company is also supplying more than 5,000 vehicles U.K.-wide with its waste-derived diesel and has demonstrated its commitment to helping transport companies to save carbon by investing in a new £75 million (USD$97.4 million) biodiesel plant in North West England due for completion at the end of the year.”

Further information on the awards is available on the LCVP press release here – which also states that “In 2015 Argent supplied high bio‐blend diesel to two major London bus companies. After a year of supplying these companies, the greenhouse gas emission savings will be equivalent to 150 million miles of carbon-free travel, based on DfT figures.”

The GLA issued a research report in 2013 on the potential for on the opportunity for a biodiesel market in London using used cooking oil (UCOs), fats oils and grease (FOGs) from commercial and domestic sources in the capital – details of which can be read in an earlier post here. Details are also posted on the GLA website here – and a very brief update by the new Mayor was also provided in a recent MQ here.

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Potential for biodiesel from use cooking oil and FOGs in London

November 2013: The Mayor announced today that TfL will be deploying 12o buses from the Barking depot which will run on a blend of 80 per cent regular diesel and 20 per cent biodiesel. The press release states that “Biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning fuel made from used cooking oil from the catering industry and tallow which is a residue from the meat processing trade. It is estimated that buses running on biodiesel produce 15 per cent less ‘well to wheel’ carbon emissions than an ordinary diesel-powered bus…No mechanical change is needed to allow a bus to run on a 20% blend of biofuel. The biodiesel in this trial is being supplied by Argent Energy with the standard diesel supplied by Prax Petroleum.”

The GLA also commissioned consultants LRS to produce a report on the market opportunity for a biodiesel market in London using used cooking oil (UCOs), fats oils and grease (FOGs) from commercial and domestic sources in the capital. The report can be downloaded here and sets out to “evaluate the potential to reduce the emissions and carbon footprint of the bus fleet in London by using up to B30 biodiesel instead of petrodiesel. Additional sustainability benefits would be achieved by using biodiesel made from used cooking oil (UCO) and fats, oils and greases (FOGs) instead of virgin oils.”

The report references recent disputes in London over UCO (see Daily Telegraph story here) stating “only 3-4 years ago illegal disposal of UCO down drains was recognised to be a significant issue, recently the demand for UCO has soared and led to ‘Cooking Oil Wars’, whereby collectors pay increasingly escalating prices to commercial organisations for UCO.”

In terms of London’s potential to produce biodiesel, on the basis of national estimates, the report suggests that using the “ratio of London’s population to the national population and uplifting to reflect the greater concentration of catering establishments in London gives an estimate of 32-44 million litres of UCO waste arisings in the London area. There are nearly 24,000 food and beverage service activities in London, along with a further 835 businesses in London working in the food manufacturing sector, most of which contribute to the production of UCOs. In particular London has over 8,000 fast food outlets, with some of the highest concentrations of such food outlets in the country.”
Lot of interesting findings in this comprehensive report. More on biodiesel use in London here.

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Dial-a-Ride vehicles trialling biodiesel

December 2011: Transport for London (TfL)is to use an “environmentally friendly biofuel in 12 of its Dial-a-Ride vehicles in a year-long trial…The biodiesel, which will be supplied by Argent Energy, is a renewable, clean-burning fuel made from used cooking oil from the catering industry and tallow, which is a residue from the meat processing industry.” Further information on TfL press release here.

For further information on the use of  biofuels in London, see the following posts. Further information on Scottish based Argent Energy here.

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We are now at DEfLon 1…

March 2014: A paper presented at February’s GLA’s Investment & Performance Board sets out the Environment Team’s priorities for this year (2014/12). Amongst the range of initiatives being taken forward are a number targeted on energy:

  • Spatial energy masterplan – to identify where and what type of energy infrastructure is required to close the energy gap and provide London with a resilient and competitive energy system.
  • Decentralise energy for London – the DEfLon programme will focus on creating a pipeline of decentralised energy projects and overcoming market barriers to give access to the retail electricity market
  • Biodiesel from used cooking oil – to help decarbonise London’s bus fleet by using biodiesel from used cooking oil (UCO) or other waste products.
  • Mayor’s Business Energy Challenge – advice and awards programme to support businesses saving money through improving energy efficiency.

The issue of a new ‘spatial energy masterplan’ for London is particularly interesting, and something discussed at in an earlier investment board meeting as part of the GLA’s work on developing the capital’s first Long Term Infrastructure Investment Plan.

The newly name DEfLon programme is likely to be a successor to the existing DEPDU support team which itself followed on from DEMaP, highlighting the importance of bringing forward decentralised energy projects in the capital.

A second paper presented to the Board provides detail on funding commitments for the Environment team. Amongst these is mention of £10k to continue updating the London Heat Map which also – interestingly – mentions that “The Heat Map has enabled £133m investment in on-site heat networks alone in 2012-13“.

The biodiesel report will most likely build on the findings of a study commissioned by the GLA in 2013 ‘The market for biodiesel production from used cooking oils and fats, oils and greases in London‘.

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Newham’s Heat-Heat-Power-Power Station

April 2013:  There’s been a lot of coverage over the past week over news of an East London scheme to burn so-called ‘fatbergs’. Here’s a run-down over what’s being proposed:

  • The developer, 2OC, has signed a 20-year deal worth over £200m with Thames Water to develop a new power station
  • 2OC say that a ‘Combined Heat and intelligent Power (CHiP) plant’ will be constructed at Thames Water’s Beckton Sewage Treatment works
  • The plant will use  fuels derived from fats, oils and greases (FOGs) – being called ‘fatbergs’ by the press – which build-up in London’s drains [the Sunday Times describes these ‘fatbergs’ as“boulder-sized balls of grease” the worst of which “require “flushers” — clad in protective white suits and shovels — to descend into the bowels of the city to break them up”]
  • Thames Water press release states that the company has committed to provide at least half of the fuel the generator requires – in the form of 30 tonnes a day of FOGs
  • Other fuel sources will include oil wastes from food outlets and manufacturers, processors and tallow (animal fats). The company say that there no virgin oils from field or plantation grown crops are to be used
  • These FOGS would otherwise be tipped down the drain or dumped in landfill and are responsible for most of the blockages in Thames Water’s 109,000 km of sewers. Removing them costs £1m a month.
  • 2OC’s press release states that “The CHiP plant will produce 130 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable electricity a year – enough to run just under 40,000 average sized homes. 75GWh will be purchased by Thames to run its sewage works – and desalination plant (also based at the Beckton site) – and the rest will be sold on to the national grid.”
  • Waste Management World states that 19MWe will be generated with the CHP based around a two-stroke marine diesel engine
  • Thames Water’s press release provides some additional information on a further novel use of the scheme. The heat output from the CHP scheme will be used to heat up gas as part of the pressure reduction process at the adjacent Beckton gasworks. The gas pressure has to be dropped to make safe for delivery to homes and businesses. Lowering the pressure of a gas causes a huge drop in temperature, which could freeze and crack pipework. Using waste heat from the engine will reduce the need from gas to be burned to produce the heat currently required to do this job. 20C will also recover some of this thermal energy to generate even more electricity.”
  • Back to the 2OC press release which provides some extra info on the last line of the para above: “Additional power is generated from the recovery of thermal energy (provided by heat from the engine)  via a turbo-expander in the gas stream”
  • Additional renewable heat will also be made available for any housing schemes nearby
  • The Sunday Times article states that “Workers have begun clearing the site, adjacent to the Beckton sewage plant. They must work fast because time is against 2OC and Thames. The facility must be up and running by April 1, 2015, in order to qualify for the giant subsidies it needs to be viable.
    The government guarantees two renewables obligation certificates, a type of green subsidy, for each megawatt hour of power that is generated by experimental technologies. That equates to three times the wholesale electricity price of about £50 per megawatt hour. However, if the Beckton plant comes onstream even one day later than April 1, it will be disqualified.” It’s less to do with it being an ‘experimental technology’ but it being a waste CHP plant which helps quality it for 2 ROCs under the RO.
  • The Sunday Times article also considers what the fuel requirement will mean in practice: Importantly, Thames will not be collecting the cooking oil that one would find in a deep- fat fryer. There is already a big market for this. McDonald’s, for example, recycles the oil from its restaurants into biodiesel for its fleet of delivery lorries… At least once a week a Thames lorry will arrive at participating restaurants to collect a fat-laden tray and replace it with it a clean one. Co-ordinating the operation will be a logistical nightmare. The Beckton power plant will need the equivalent of a shipping container’s worth of fat every day.”
  • Andrew Mercer, chief executive of 2OC, said:“This is good for us, the environment, Thames Water and its customers. Our renewable power and heat from waste oils and fats is fully sustainable. When Thames doesn’t need our output, it will be made available to the grid meaning that power will be sourced, generated and used in London by Londoners.”

Okay:  a lot going on there which is worth going over. What is being proposed is the combustion of these various FOG fuels in a diesel engine to generate electricity. This electrical output from this engine will be directed in the first instance to the sewage treatment works, the Beckton desalination plant (when it needs it – it’s not expected to operate that often) – and also exported to the grid.

The heat from the engine will be captured (as it’s operating in CHP mode) and that will be used to go to the sewage treatment works also, and some is also being proposed to go to local residents via a district heating scheme (of which there is scant detail at the moment). But  some the CHP heat will also go to a Gas Pressure Reduction Station owned by National Grid which is next door to the Beckton sewage treatment works. This is a site where gas is depressurised from the high pressure national gas transmission system, to a lower pressure local distribution system, which can then be fed into homes and businesses. Lowering the pressure of a gas causes a huge drop in temperature, which could freeze and crack pipework, hence heat via a boiler has to be provided on site to help this process (which is currently done). The CHP waste heat will now help fulfil this role, helping reduce the need for gas-burn in the existing boiler.

Last bit: 20C have been exploring for several years now on integrating a device called a turbo expander into the gas pipeline at these pressure reduction station sites.  The expansion of gas at these points from higher to lower pressure allows – with the use of the turbo expander – the generation of electricity. All in all – this  is probably the reason why 2OC are calling this project a ‘Combined Heat and Intelligent Power’ (CHiP) plant!

And did I mention that Thames Water are also installing a 1.5MW wind turbine at the Beckton site also…?!

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‘Mayor Boris urged to stop Treasury from ‘pouring used cooking oil down the drain’

February 2012: Business Green story: “The Mayor of London has been urged to confront the Treasury over its plans to change the way it subsidises fuel made from used cooking oil, warning the move could severely disrupt the capital’s businesses and force many taxi drivers to return to using fossil fuels.  Under plans put forward by Chancellor George Osborne in the Budget 2011, biodiesel made from used cooking oil (UCO) will no longer receive a 20p duty differential, and will instead receive double certificates under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) from the start of April this year.”

Read the full story here. Previous posts on the use of recycled cooking oil as biofuel in London here.

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‘Greentomatos plus chip-fat equals low carbon fleet’

17 November 2011: BusinessGreen reports that “London taxicab firm greentomatocars has added 20 biofuel-powered cars to its 200 strong Prius fleet as the competition to become the capital’s greenest fleet heats up. The six Citroen C6 and 14 Citroen Combi Dispatch MPVs are fuelled by a 30 per cent blend of biodiesel refined from locally sourced waste vegetable oil and standard fuel.”. Read the full story here.

More on London’s use of used cooking oil for fuel here.

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Recycling Cooking Oil in London

July 2011: The Committee on Climate Change are currently undertaking a review of bioenergy and took a trip to have a look at the work of Uptown Oil who  collect used cooking oil from about a thousand sources in London – including Young’s pubs, Selfridges and Hackney Borough Council – to produce biodiesel.
Business Green article published last week highlighted that Carluccio’s Restaurant chain – which has around 20 cafes in London – announced that it has signed a deal with biofuel firm Convert2Green to be converted into biofuel.  Other biofuel suppliers in London include:
Uptown Oil based in Borough
Pure Fuels based in Edmonton
Proper Oils who work with a  Croydon Council collection scheme
Uptown have also been selected to supply biofuel to PWC’s new HQ whose energy will be partially supplied by a trigeneration scheme (combined heat and power with cooling) – one of London’s only biofuelled CHP schemes.
Figures for the amount of cooking oil collected in London and be turned into biofuel do not appear to be available, however, a study reported on by the London Assembly in 2009 indicated that 37,000 tonnes of used cooking oil is available in London and the DfT’s latest biofuel statistics state that the “largest single feedstock for UK biofuel was used cooking oil (314m litres, 26% of total biofuel supplied)“. London’s Draft Waste Municipal Waste Strategy commits that the “Mayor will, through his Food to Fuel Alliance, aim to catalyse at least five exemplar food waste projects in London…the Alliance will support food waste projects that generate renewable heat and power (including transport fuel), and compost material for local use.”

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