Changing Places tells stories about greening Britain - intiatives by individuals, local communities, government or multi-national corporations that contribute to a sustainable future.
Food For Fuel
Friday 11 November
The holding tanks at Argent Energy's biodiesel plant near Glasgow
By 2010, the UK has a European Union target to meet of 5.75% of biofuels to be used for transport. Biofuels are liquid fuels made from plant material and recycled materials from the food chain. The liquid fuels produced from these products are biodiesel and bioethanol.
Biodiesel can be made from recycled animal fats and vegetable oils. The UK's first biodiesel plant opened earlier this year near Glasgow. It cost Argent Energy £17 million to construct the plant and it produces 50 million litres of biodiesel. The biodiesel goes from there to the north of England to be blended with mineral diesel. Most engines can run on this blend with a biodiesel content of 5% without having any modifications made.
Bioethanol can be made from fermenting the sugars from various crops to produce ethanol. Bioethanol is not being produced on an industrial scale yet in this country. Green Spirit Fuels, based in the West Country, hopes to make use of the large surplus of wheat produced in the UK as the feedstock for the production plant they hope to build by 2007. Like biodiesel, 5% of bioethanol blended in with normal petrol can be used in cars currently.
These green fuels are a vital and environmentally friendly part of the fuel future, playing their part in helping to reduce a dependency on ever-depleting fossil fuel supplies and unsteady oil markets. They are also helping us to make significant reductions in carbon emissions as well as using up waste products and surpluses.