Written by Frank Hare
The term biodiesel needs to be identified more closely, as there are more and more bio’s entering the vocabulary of the fuelling business. The chances are that Bishops Castle in Shropshire doesn’t spring quickly to mind as a centre for alternative fuels, but you would be wrong. Intelligent Energy Systems Ltd (IES) based in Bishops Castle are pioneering a fuel new to this country that could, on a grander scale, lead to many more vehicles using their biodiesel and adding to the ever growing list of alternative sources of energy. We are hearing much about hydrogen fuelled cars as a fuel for the future, but little about biodiesel.
So what is biodiesel?
It is vegetable oil which has had the glycerol removed by a simple chemical process called transesterification. In this case it is discarded cooking oil originally from rape seed that is collected and esterifiedcleaned by IES and resold as biodiesel to the local community. Only vegetable oil Were the environment is concerned – Every Little Helps from rape seed is used as other oils can tend to be subject to waxing. Other vegetable oils such as palm oil are sensitive in the political arena, when rain forests are put into the equation.
Collected from a variety of sources by a local fruit and vegetable wholesaler at the current rate of around two tonne’s every week, you might be lead to ask the question “Is it worth it?” In the grand scale of things this venture is small, but to the local users it is certainly a contribution to the push for cutting emissions as there are none, as biodiesel is effectively a carbon neutral fuel.
Available from Union Street Garage , Bishops Castle, it is stored and pumped from a stand-alone above ground tank with an integral Puisi pump supplied by Central Tank Services. As it is a ‘not for resale’ approved pump meter, a club has been formed under the banner of the aptly named The Wasteless Society. It costs members £5 to join the club and fuel is dispensed at 90p per litre(includes vat and 27.1p duty). It is 100% biodiesel which gives comparable performance to standard diesel, but many manufacturers currently may not uphold engine warranties, which can put people off from joining the club initially. But the club makes it clear about all the potential pitfalls that might befall the user, which happily have not been forthcoming .
Entrepreneur and MD of I.E.S. Ltd Richard Hill is confident that this venture is only in its infancy and expansion plans are in hand to boost sales. Richard is from farming stock himself and is keen to exploit the resources of the land from whatever angle and is eyeing the prospects of the ethanol market, to establish a crop rotation system with rape and other grain crops that will sustain both and keep the soil in equilibrium.
Read more about ethanol as a fuel in the article entitled Ethanol – the coming fuel?