BUY a litre of diesel today and it will cost you £1.20, but do it yourself and it can cost you as little as 20 pence per litre.
That was what visitors to EBEC – the UK’s largest bioenergy conference – were told by Colin Bolton from Practical Energy Solutions this week.
Mr Bolton has developed a biodiesel processor which can ‘react and settle’ 75 litres of biodiesel in ‘just 20 minutes’. All you need, said Mr Bolton, is oil.
“Farmers can use left over rape seed oil, or oil from a second press of rape seed. Or they can simply collect used cooking oil from the local area.
“Whatever oil you collect, you put it into our refinery and you can be driving on green fuel almost within the hour,” he said.
As the price of oil increases and farmers are forced to pay more for their diesel, this solution could become very attractive.
Mr Bolton said the Government’s debt may also force it to revise the subsidy on red diesel.
“Whichever way you look at it, fuel is getting more expensive unless you make it yourself,” he said.
Under Government regulations, you are permitted to make up to 2,500 litres of diesel at home every year tax free.
Mr Bolton said it would cost a maximum 50 pence to make a litre of biodiesel – 30p for a litre of used oil and 20 pence for the inputs which comprise electricity, methanol and sodium hydroxide.
“Farmers are great at adapting and innovating. They know fossil fuels are running out and as fuel prices rise, this sort of technology will become more attractive,” said Mr Bolton.
Mr Bolton’s ‘Biobot’ can process up to 375 litres of biodiesel a day and at a cost of £2,350 it could offer a payback of under a year if used to its maximum capacity.