Biodiesel protocols renewed

Farmers can now specify quality assured biodiesel thanks to new industry guidelines for the production of the renewable fuel introduced by the Waste Protocols Project – a joint WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) and Environment Agency initiative.

The new Quality Protocol for biodiesel from waste cooking oil and rendered animal fats has the potential to increase the amount of high quality fuel available to the agricultural sector. It will also remove the red tape associated with the use of biodiesel, thereby enabling farmers to make cost savings.

The protocol, which allows quality biodiesel to be produced in exactly the same manner, and at approximately the same cost, as virgin oil biodiesel, will also allow farmers to take advantage of a number of other benefits, including improved engine performance and reduced vehicle emissions of carbon monoxide by approximately 50% and carbon dioxide by 78%.

Prior to the introduction of the protocol, biodiesel from waste cooking oil and rendered animal fats was classified as waste until burnt in an engine. This placed a regulatory burden – and associated costs – on users and producers of the fuel, who were required to comply with waste management controls governing its handling, transport and storage. The “waste” tag may also have deterred some end users from buying the fuel, which is understandable when poor quality biodiesel has been known to damage engines.

The new Quality Protocol, which applies in England and Wales, sets end-of-waste criteria for biodiesel, and shifts the point of recovery from its current position to where the fuel meets BS EN 14214 and BS EN 14213 – the approved British Standards for automotive and heating fuels. It has been estimated that if medium and large producers follow the protocol, over 95% of all biodiesel sold in mainstream markets will be BS EN 14214 compliant.

Mervyn Jones, WRAP’s Joint Project Executive for the Waste Protocols Project, says the Quality Protocol will offer vital reassurance to agricultural buyers of biodiesel.

“WRAP and the Environment Agency are advising farmers who use biodiesel produced from waste cooking oil and rendered animal fats to specify biodiesel compliant with the new Quality Protocol,” he says.

“Only biodiesel produced in line with the protocol will offer them the peace of mind that comes from knowing the fuel meets assured standards and is free from waste management controls.”

Martin Brocklehurst, the Environment Agency’s Joint Project Executive for the Waste Protocols Project, says: “This Quality Protocol for biodiesel, like other Quality Protocols, removes commercial barriers to the reuse of discarded raw materials, which leads to carbon savings and reduces the burden of regulation while maintaining protection for our environment.

“I’m confident this Quality Protocol will be welcomed by businesses operating across the biodiesel production and distribution supply chain.”

The Quality Protocol for biodiesel can be downloaded from the Environment Agency website at

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