Biofuel-powered mowers help cut council emissions
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council is looking to replace diesel with hydrogenated waste vegetable oil as a renewable and more sustainable fuel across its fleet of operational vehicles.
Able to be used in place of diesel without vehicles needing to be modified, hydrogenated vegetable oil emits up to 90% less carbon and significantly fewer particulates, helping to address the climate emergency and improve local air quality.
The fuel is created by collecting waste fats and cooking oils and putting them through a hydrotreatment process so they can be reused, rather than disposing of them as hazardous waste or in landfill.
All of the council’s 25 grass mowers used across the borough have been operating on hydrogenated waste vegetable oil since May 2022 as part of the first phase of the trial.
Following the success of this first phase, the council is now expanding the trial to a number of other operational vehicles including road and precinct sweepers as well as tipper vehicles and a small van.
This second phase is set to begin in the next six weeks, following the arrival of a new storage tank for the hydrogenated vegetable oil fuel to use in these additional vehicles.
Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Action Cllr Hayley Eachus said: “Reducing emissions from our council fleet remains a priority and this waste oil is a more sustainable fuel, particularly for those vehicles where suitable electric or zero emissions alternatives do not yet exist.
“Swapping our grass mowers to this biofuel is already expected to reduce our emissions by around 90 tonnes a year. Provided this next phase of the trial is successful, we will consider how we could roll it out across more of our operational vehicles by next summer.
“We have already cut the net emissions from our operations by two-thirds since 2018/19 and swapping to using biofuel in other vehicles would see further significant reductions as we continue to make strong progress towards our ambitious target to become a net zero carbon council by 2025.”
The council declared a climate emergency in September 2019, which included setting a target for the council to be net zero carbon in its operations by 2025.
For more information, see www.basingstoke.gov.uk/climate.