Turning old cooking oil into motor fuel

It's a resort renowned for its number of restaurants and chip shops but until now the rich choice for holidaymakers has added up to money down the drain in terms of fatty sewer deposits.

It's a resort renowned for its number of restaurants and chip shops but until now the rich choice for holidaymakers has added up to money down the drain in terms of fatty sewer deposits.

Now a Yarmouth company has taken a frying leap forward with the borough council and Anglian Water to organise a free waste cooking oil collection service for the area's estimated 1,700 catering businesses - turning fat into biodiesel to run its lorries and to sell commercially.

The Yarmouth Biodiesel Partnership is thought to be the first of its kind in the country and fertilizer manufacturer J & H Bunn, which runs 15 lorries from its harbour- mouth factory, believes positive participation by traders will enable it to develop its existing biodiesel production plant at Seething, near Loddon, into one of the biggest nationally.

The launch of the service comes 12 months after serious floods in parts of Yarmouth, and Anglian Water, which spends £5m a year cleaning its sewers to limit the risk of such events, welcomed the potential for reducing incidence of oil being illegally dumped down the drains.

David Harrod, joint managing director of J & H Bunn, said they already ran their trucks on a mix of 30pc biodiesel/ 70pc conventional fuel and there was the potential to increase the percentage of biodiesel they used, as well as selling it to other firms, as production at their plant increased.

He said: “At the moment we employ two people at our Seething plant and produce 8,000 to 10,000 litres a week. We are now ready to install new machinery at a cost of £100,000, which will enable us to increase that to 8,000 litres a day and take on another employee.”

Most Read

Mr Harrod estimated they currently saved 10p-12p a litre on diesel pump prices, which meant they were already making a small profit even taking into consideration the operating costs of their plant. Profits would rise as their production increased.

So far 200 businesses have signed up for a cooking oil container to join the scheme, which is being formally launched in the Market Place today.

The leader of the borough council, Barry Coleman, said: “I urge all commercial caterers to join the waste cooking oil collection scheme. It's both a neat way to solve a business waste problem and improve the area's environment.”

Through the partnership, the council would also be able to buy discounted biodiesel for its vehicles from J & H Bunn, a move that would be cost-neutral but beneficial to the environment.

Collette Nicholls, of Anglian Water, said: “We calculate that about 10pc of our sewer network is clogged with 10,000 tonnes of fats, oils and grease at any one time. It costs about £5m a year to keep the sewers clean, but we need to ensure wastewater can flow freely through the sewers, especially in the face of climate change and freak weather conditions.”

To register for the scheme, businesses should call 0800 9777847. They will be provided with a free container which will be collected when full and replaced with a new one.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter