Usine de Limay, VEOLIA PROPRETE - Gestion des déchets spéciaux Photo - credit: Photothèque VEOLIA - Stéphane Lavoué

Cooking oil becomes biodiesel - and runs our cars

Waste oil is being recycled into biodiesel, helping to meet Europe’s target of 10% green fuel in all gas tanks by 2020.

Every liter of used oil from restaurants that is recycled avoids the emission of 3 kilograms of CO2. One metric ton of recycled cooking oil produces 1200 liters of biofuel.

London, winter 2014. Its famous fish and chips grabbed the headlines. Not for their unique taste, but because the oil used to fry them had got the better of the sewers. Poured down sinks, fatbergs - fat floes weighing up to 15 tons - caused 80,000 blockages in the metropolis’ arteries. Cost of the bypass? At least 15 million euros. But there are ways of recovering these edible oils and even recycling them. The idea is not new. It has already attracted people wanting to save money at the gas pump. How? By adding used
frying oil to their tanks. Just one problem - although using these homemade mixtures is tolerated, it is still illegal. And until now, there was no industrial-scale approach exploiting this very virtuous recycling.

20,000 metric tons of biodiesel every year

But now it’s in the bag! In the port of Limay in the Yvelines (in France), the SARP Industries plant, a subsidiary of Veolia, annually produces 20,000 tons of biofuel. It comes from used cooking oil and fat waste collected from 10,000 restaurants. Filtered and washed, once collected and transported to the plant in Limay it is processed to produce used cooking oil methyl ester (UCOME). Biodiesel with a tiny ecological footprint. In addition, it avoids the use of crops such as wheat, corn or palm oil, which were used to produce the first generation biofuels.

Usine de Limay, VEOLIA PROPRETE - Gestion des déchets spéciaux Photo - credit: Photothèque VEOLIA - Stéphane Lavoué

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