Have Fossil Fuels Had Their Chips? Recycling Firm Puts Cooking Fat Biodiesel on Forecourt

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Byline: By Robin Turner Western Mail

Eating chips may be a guilty pleasure but it could also help you power your car and save the planet at the same time. A renewables firm has established Wales' first garage-style pump dispensing biodiesel made from used cooking oil.

Families living in Carmarthenshire and Swansea are being urged to take their used cooking oil to collection points at municipal waste disposal sites.

There they are collected by Ammanford-based Sundance Renewables, Wales' first community-based cooking oil biodiesel plant, featuring a pounds 100,000 processor which turns chip fat oil into vehicle diesel.

And Sundance makes sure it pays duty on the diesel, which it sells at just 97.5p per litre, well below the average 105p per litre price of conventional "mineral" diesel.

The use of vegetable oil as a cheap fuel caught on in Carmarthenshire three years ago - and people were not so fussy about paying duty.

In Llanelli, a special police unit nicknamed the "frying squad" was formed after hundreds of drivers were believed to be running their diesel cars on cooking oil.

Sniffing out unusually fragrant exhaust fumes, highway patrols collared several dozen offenders, who saved more than 40p a litre by diverting oil from the kitchen cupboard to under the bonnet.

The Asda supermarket in Llanelli even slapped a ration on cooking oil sales, after astonished internal auditors found that it was selling far more than any other outlet in the country. Customs investigators were also involved in the "sniff patrols", which homed in on any car smelling like a mobile fish and chip shop.

"It's a serious offence," said Bill O'Leary, spokesman for customs and excise, which levies tax on motor oil but not on the version used in saucepans.

He said, "By law, all cars on public roads must pay a tax on the fuel they use. …