Food waste fuel in Rotherham 

Ten council vans and lorries are being powered by eco-friendly vegetable oil in new trial to cut CO2 emissions 

The trial is cost effective because it requires no modifications to the council’s fleet of vehicles as Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) is a direct ‘drop-in replacement’ for the diesel they usually run on. In fact, HVO is often known as ‘renewable diesel’.  

Cllr Sheppard and a council lorry fuelled by HVO, photo courtesy Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

It’s derived from oils and fats such as used cooking oils and waste materials from food manufacturing. It can also come from non-food grade crops and waste materials generated by forestry and agricultural industries. These are 100% renewable sources and HVO is certified as fully sustainable and ethically sourced.   

The team at Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council hopes the move will reduce carbon emissions by up to 90%, helping to improve air quality in the region.  

Data already gathered from the trial is positive, suggesting that HVO fuel consumption (in miles per gallon) is similar to that of diesel. Progress will be monitored closely until the end of the trial next month. If the findings remain positive, the council will look to use HVO fuel more widely across its fleet. 

Cllr David Sheppard, Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion and Environment at Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, says: ‘RMBC is only responsible for a small proportion of carbon emissions in the borough, but we are in a position where we can set an example by actively cutting our output, which should encourage others to follow suit. 

‘As a local authority, we can help advocate and accelerate climate action plans. The introduction of this HVO fuel trial aligns with the commitment we made as part of our climate action plans of making the council net zero by the end of 2030. We’re constantly looking at how we can improve our efficiency and make the way we run our services as clean and green as possible.’  

Karen Mudford, Head of Fleet and Transport Services, adds: ‘Our drivers and mechanics are telling us that the vehicles in the trial are running smoother than before the switch to HVO. It’s been a simple transition away from diesel. 

‘We’re leading the way as one of the first local authorities in South Yorkshire to introduce this more climate-friendly fuel and all the initial signs from the trial are positive. HVO looks to be better for our environment and a fuel source that can be readily introduced. We’re looking forward to reviewing the full data when the trial ends.’ 

In related news:

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10% improvement in air quality in Bristol due to CAZ 


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