Kerrier District Council in Cornwall has been trialling the use of biodiesel, made from farm crops such as cereals, oilseeds and sugar beet, as well as recycled vegetable oil in its fleet of sweepers, vans and other vehicles.
A 15% use of the 'green' fuel produces 50 – 60% less carbon dioxide than traditional fossil fuels, as well as a reduction in other exhaust emissions. It also improves engine lubrication, increases fuel efficiency slightly, and has a higher 'flash point' than normal diesel, making it safer to handle and store. However, biodiesel costs the council no more than its regular fuel.
The council is now considering expanding its use of green fuels to as much as 35%.
Andy Mead, Kerrier's direct services manager, said: "The recent cold snap has been a very stern test of our vehicles’ reliability, so I’m delighted to say the new, environmentally friendly fuels have been working very well. On the basis of these results, we can certainly plan further increases in the proportion of biodiesel we use."