28. June 2023
Topic:  Alternative fuels

Can your cooking oil contribute to a more sustainable future?

Can your cooking oil contribute to a more sustainable future?

Instead of disposing of it, we can reuse it. Not for cooking, but as a fuel component. Vehicles could one day run on biofuel made from used cooking oil. ORLEN Unipetrol and ORLEN UniCRE are developing a process that could make it possible to refine this product into a high-quality fuel for motor vehicles. How does it work?

The European Union requires fuel producers to gradually increase the share of second-generation biofuels in automotive fuels. This new generation of additives is expected to replace biofuel components made from rapeseed oil, corn, sugar cane and other food crops.

ORLEN UniCRE researchers are testing such material, which have the potential to become second-generation biofuels, in their laboratories at Chempark Záluží near Litvínov, Czech Republic.

The project, aimed at collecting used cooking oil, is a chance to protect household waste pipes, reduce wastewater pollution and contribute to research into the use of waste oils for biofuel production. You can get involved too!

What kind of project?

The Used Cooking Oil (UCO) Collection Project is aimed at collecting used cooking oil from households to test the material and investigate its potential use for biofuel and other products.

UCO Collection is part of an EUCOTECH research project, whose main objective is to develop and pilot test a technology to purify and treat UCO into products suitable for further processing in refinery processes and to prepare documentation for demonstration or operational implementation of the technology. The secondary objective is to compare the proposed collection system with existing methods in terms of environmental, economic and social impact.

The Used Cooking Oil collection project is unique in that it involves the development of a purification and treatment process for actual used cooking oils from Czech households. The main advantage of the project is the complete solution of recycling waste oils from their originators to the production of new sustainable products, which benefits both citizens and the environment.

Inspiration from abroad

Similar projects are also being implemented abroad. In Germany, for example, there is the 'Blue Angel' programme, which certifies fuels made from recycled oils and fats. In the US, used cooking oil is collected and recycled for biofuel production, while in the UK, the 'Grown in Britain' project has been launched to produce second-generation biofuels from waste feedstocks.

Why is this important?

Edible oil in wastewater threatens the environment. Oils put a strain on wastewater treatment plants and can leak into rivers or contaminate the soil. However, used edible oil can be used as a raw material with a variety of applications. For example, it can be used to produce bio-based components for motor fuels.

The cooking oil collection project provides a transparent and efficient method of collecting used cooking oil that increases recycling rates and reduces pollution. In addition, it explores the possibilities of using this raw material and efficiently converting it into biofuel and petrochemicals.

How does Used Cooking Oil collection work in the Czech Republic?

There are collection boxes at selected Benzina petrol stations where you can drop off your used cooking oil 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The collection is linked to the ORLEN Benzina app, which helps analyse the situation and future development of cooking oil collection in the Czech Republic.

The project also includes the development of a fully autonomous collection box called Smartbox, which would replace semi-automatic collection boxes.

Who is behind the project?

The UCO Collection pilot project is the result of cooperation between ORLEN Unipetrol and ORLEN UniCRE together with the Czech Technical University in Prague and the Czech University of Agriculture in Prague. The aim is to design and pilot test a system for collecting used cooking oils from households and subsequently processing them into quality raw materials for the production of biofuels and other sustainable refinery and petrochemical products.

The investment cost of the UCO collection project is CZK 5.8 million and another CZK 15 million is co-financed research and development through the EUCOTECH project. The project is also co-financed by the TREND programme of the Technical Agency of the Czech Republic.

Want to join in? Visit www.sbirejolej.cz for a list of participating petrol stations and more details.

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