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How to: run your car on a fast-food diet

We all know that energy crops such as soybeans and rapeseed can be harvested and processed in order to produce fuel for our vehicles, but perhaps less well-known is the fact that most biological products contain energy that can be harnessed by man, including food products and even animal waste. In May 2011, leading petrol and diesel provider Greenergy spent £50 million on a UK facility for the production of biodiesel from unsalable junk food; so all of those overcooked pasties, burnt chips and misshapen sausage rolls that would otherwise have gone to waste are now powering people’s cars and lorries. Here’s how the process works.

High-fat foods such as crisps, chips and pasties can contain as much as 30% fat and oil, making them extremely lucrative for the production of biodiesel. Brocklesby Ltd have developed a special process for the extraction and processing of these oils, which are far harder to work with than the purer forms extracted from energy crops like rapeseed and soybeans.

Once the oil has been extracted, it needs to be cleansed and purified. Using filtration and purification techniques, the company are able to produce an oil clean enough to be used for biodiesel production from such foodstuffs as sausage rolls, fish-frying oil and even taramasalata. The solid waste that is left over from this process is then dried, sent for composting or used to produce additional energy via a process known as anaerobic digestion; nothing is landfilled or wasted.

The purified oils are then converted into renewable, carbon-neutral biodiesel. This biodiesel can be used on its own to power diesel engines with little or no modifications, although doing so will void the warranty on most diesel vehicles. More commonly, biodiesel is blended with true fossil fuel diesel to increase the yield and reduce the carbon footprint without reducing performance or economy. Greenergy blends their biodiesel products with the fossil-fuel diesels that they supply to fuel stations across the UK.

The usage of waste foodstuffs for the production of renewable fuels is an excellent way of confronting two environmental issues simultaneously. We hope that all of the UK’s fuel providers will follow suit so that someday soon UK Fuel Cards can start to provide our fleet customers with biodiesel fuel cards, too. Until such a time as that’s possible, take a look at our current range of fuel cards for the best in cost-effective, manageable fleet fuel solutions.

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