Tag Archives: Biofuels

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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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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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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Energy & Climate Questions to the Mayor

May 2013: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:

whether the Mayor had signed up to the London Big Energy Switch; whether the Mayor had signed up to the Green Deal; making Greenwich Power station a low-carbon generator;  the London Energy and Greenhouse Gas Inventory (LEGGI); discussions with DECC over increasing levels of fuel poverty in London; the Mayor’s response to the Government’s consultation on a new definition for fuel poverty – (link to actual response document here); the growth of fuel poverty in London’s private rented sector; a new power station for London; energy and climate issues in Transport for London’s business plan; decentralised energy and the London Infrastructure Group; meetings with energy supplier companies on the ECO in London; the impact of rising energy prices on London’s economy; the poor uptake of photovoltaics in London; renewable energy supply to London Underground; the use of recycled cooking oil in London’s bus fleet; the number of job losses in the insulation industry in London; how the London Enterprise Panel’s Skills & Employment Working Group will promote green jobs; the number of ‘green’ double decker buses in London; the number ‘green’ single decker buses in London’; emissions related to the ‘New bus for London’; the Shoreditch Heat Network; the Citigen CHP scheme; Guidance on Low Carbon Cooling systems; zero carbon heating at the Tate modern; minutes of the High Level Electricity Working Group; future changes in London’s weather; climate change in the national curriculum; petition to remove climate change from the national curriculum; carbon emissions and projects supported under the Growing Places Fund the RE:NEW evaluation report and an update on the Mayor’s electricity ‘license lite’ application.

Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found 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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‘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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PwC considers ‘negawatt’ trial

17 August 2011: Business Green article on how PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) is considering taking part in UK Power Network’s Low Carbon London demand reduction project through managing the output of its onsite biofuel CHP system at their HQ near Tower Bridge.

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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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Advanced Biofuels to be used during 2012 Games

July 2011: BP –  the “Official Oil and Gas Partner for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games” – is to provide advanced biofuel blends during the Games, prior to their commercial launch. BP have stated that they “will make limited quantities available at their retail site on the Hammersmith flyover in west London, at a scale to fuel 40 vehicles in the official Games fleet.” Further information here.

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