TESCO IS rolling out biodiesel sourced from rapeseed to forecourts across the South East.

The new agreement with Greenergy will bring the company‘s Globaldiesel to an extra 21 forecourts, pushing demand up by an estimated 10-15 million litres over the next year.

“This is a huge step to drive forward the market for quality biodiesel from rapeseed,” said Greenergy‘s Alex Lewis.

The news follows on from plans announced recently for the UK‘s first biodiesel plant processing home-grown rapeseed oil.

Ms Lewis said the extra demand from Tesco would secure a home for biodiesel sourced from UK rapeseed grown through Greenergy‘s Field to Forecourt contract.

“The contract was due to expand next year anyway to supply the new plant.”

Tesco started trialling the Globaldiesel 20:1 blend of low sulphur diesel and biodiesel at its Hatfield store in February 2003.

“Shoppers have asked for our help in buying more environmentally-friendly high performance fuel,” said Tesco company secretary Lucy Neville-Rolfe.

The green fuel will replace lead replacement petrol at its pumps in the 21 extra forecourts, which have been chosen for their current high demand of diesel.

Tesco.com delivery vans will also be running on Globaldiesel, she added, and staff at the Tesco headquarters in Hertfordshire will be encouraged to fill up with the new fuel.

Transport minister David Jamieson gave his support to the venture.

“The Government welcomes this step by Tesco to give quality blended biodiesels prominence on the nation‘s forecourts,” he said.

Sainsburys, which has been selling Globaldiesel at its Greenwich store since January 2003, is still evaluating consumer response to the fuel.

Over the next year, estimated sales of the fuel at Tesco will deliver a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of over 2000 tonnes – equivalent to the amount created by 7 million driver miles.