Not only cafeterias and restaurants, but also sports canteens, food trucks, institutional kitchens and snack manufacturers use frying fat. 44 million kilos of frying fat is used annually in the catering industry in the Netherlands alone. The oils or fats are collected in plastic barrels after use. It can be used to make fuel very well.
The plastic barrels in which the used oils or fats is collected are assembled every 1 to 2 months by a recycling company and exchanged for empty, clean barrels. The barrels are emptied in the factory and the barrels as well as the fats and oils are cleaned. The fats and oils are cleaned of water (from the frozen snacks) and product residues such as chips and breadcrumbs. The clean oil is stored in large storage tanks with a capacity of several hundred tons. The oil is then delivered to the biodiesel factory by tanker.
Reduction of CO2 emissions
Recycling used frying fats and oils is beneficial for the environment. By turning it into biodiesel, we ensure that we use less fossil fuel. Biodiesel is fossil-free and renewable. In Europe, the government promotes the use of waste for energy applications. Companies that supply fuels to Dutch transport are obliged to supply a certain share of renewable energy each year and to reduce the CO2 emissions of their transport fuels.
Due to its environmental benefits, biodiesel is in high demand in Europe. To meet the demand, used cooking oils are also imported from other parts of the world. Especially from countries where deep-frying is an important part of the local cuisine. In many Asian countries, such as China and South Korea, there is a lot of deep-fried food, but there is no policy that promotes the use of waste for energy applications. The recycling of this used cooking oil therefore partly takes place here in the Netherlands.
We also process used cooking oil from the United States in the Netherlands. The US is known for its fast food chains. The east coast of the US in particular has a high population density, which means that a lot of used cooking oil is available there. It is easier to sell the used cooking oil from there to Western Europe than to process it in the US itself. The biodiesel factories in the US are mainly built to process the oil from the soy that is grown there. These factories are mainly located on the west coast.
The biodiesel, which is made from used cooking oil, only emits 11% CO2 compared to regular diesel, thereby making a significant contribution to the CO2 reduction achieved through the use of biofuel. In the Netherlands, more than 80% of biofuels are made from waste. Used cooking oil is the most important raw material. More than 60% of the biofuel supplied to the Dutch transport sector is made from used frying fat. The Netherlands is a frontrunner in Europe in this regard.
Frank Bergmans, policy officer sustainable development MVO