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Biofuel powered vehicle fleet

Emily Benson's picture

From cooking fat to power: Scottish marketing company EAE Ltd switches to biodiesel fuelled vehicles and transforms their business model

EAE have always sought to be as environmentally friendly as possible but the big change came when we came to our present location when we were able to put in place a number of different green solutions. 

First, in 2007, we put up our own wind turbine, which contributes to half of our energy bill each year. 

Second, and more recently, we converted our fleet of 22 vehicles, which are all large transit vans and clock up approximately 65,000 miles (105000 km) a year, to mixed fuel vehicles. The fuel is made up of 30% biodiesel which is distilled from tallow, a residue from the meat industry, and used cooking oil (UCO) which is a waste from the catering sector. We source our biodiesel from a local company, Argent Energy, based in Motherwell, Scotland. We considered a range of different biodiesels, including 100% renewable but realised that for the distances we cover we would need to use B30 (30% biofuel). We have our own tank of biodiesel here at the plant so that we can fill up the vehicles when we need to. We lease the Citreon vehicles and operate them under warantee. 

Third, we now recycle 100% of all office waste paper and clients’ out-of-date printed materia. We changed our recycling contractor so that we could also include wooden pallets, shrink wrap, cardboard, plastic, and metal etc meaning that we now have an overall recylcing rate of 97%. We have also introduced cardboard and plastic balers to compact these waste streams andmake the collection more cost-effective. As a result, a new revenue stream has beengenerated worth £25,000/year (€30,750/year).

Fourth, as part of a site water audit, a major underground leak was identified. Repairing the leak saved the company £1,000/year (€1,230/year) through avoided water charges. EAE wanted to reduce the amount of water it used further, so it fitted flow restrictors to taps, placed cistern volume adjusters in toilets and fitted regulators to urinals. These actions have reduced annual water consumption by approximately 15%.

Finally, as part of the company’s induction programme for new employees, and ongoing awareness raising and training, EAE makes all staff aware of the importance of the company’s sustainability strategy. It actively encourages them to support the policy and contribute to the company’s success through:

• a staff suggestion scheme for new ideas to reduce the company’s environmental impact. A cash incentive of £50 (€62) is available for those staff whose suggestions are implemented;

• including progress on environmental improvements in all monthly staff meetings and in the quarterly newsletter; and

• holding staff workshops to generate new ideas to improve sustainability.

Further details

How was the green solution financed?: 
Cost savings description: 
£25,000/year (€30,750/year) from more cost-effective waste collection.
Emission reductions description: 
We have reduced our emissions by 65% since 2007
Energy consumption description: 
They are reducing year on year
Water consumption savings description: 
15% water savings / year
Technical and capacity requirements?: 

We had to bring in a bunded fuel tank at our site so that we could have the fuel delivered here regularly and then the courier fleet could fill up from here.

One emerging issue was that two of the vehicles stopped working despite the fact that we were assured by the company that they would be able to handle the fuel conversion.

Similarly, as an early adopter, when the wind turbine was installed in 2007 the contractors were not as reliable as we had hoped and our phone lines and broadband were put out of action for two days and we had to wait for their technical expertise to rectify the problem.

Regulatory framework prerequisites and constraints?: 

Our main issue was achieving planning consent from the local authority for a 6 kW wind turbine.