Shropshire is one of the first counties in the UK to establish a network of independent petrol retailers selling biodiesel, the renewable fuel made from oil seed rape or waste vegetable oil.
All garages in the network are selling B5 Biodiesel, a 5% blend of oil rape seed or reprocessed sunflower oil, which is added to 95% diesel and is suitable for all diesel vehicles.
The Shropshire B5 Biodiesel initiative is being co-ordinated by Energy West Midlands, the new government-backed regional energy office; Marches Energy Agency, the Shropshire-based charity that promotes renewable energy; and Garage Watch. The scheme is in response to last year’s government commitment to the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation which will ensure that 5% of petrol sold here will come from renewable sources by 2010.
Adrian Smith, director of Energy West Midlands, said: "The growing public interest in clean, renewable fuels ensures that B5 Biodiesel offers independents a unique sales proposition and allows them to differentiate their product offering from major oil companies. The Shropshire initiative means it is now easier for drivers to ’do their bit’ to help reduce harmful CO2 emissions."
Under the new B5 biodiesel pilot scheme, seven forecourts across the county are currently retailing the fuel, with further recruitment ongoing. Garages participating in the scheme include Four Crosses in Bicton, Bridge Filling Station in Oswestry, The Garage in Leintwardine, The Mount Local Service Station in the Mount and Sutton Farm Filling Station, Shrewsbury. Next month Wem Motors in Wem, and Highley Garage near Bridgnorth are scheduled to join the B5 fuel network.
Supermarket giant Tesco, is involved in the development of a new biodiesel plant in Liverpool. Greenergy, a company in which Tesco has a 75% stake, has reached an agreement with international food company, Cargill, to co-develop the site. Greenergy Biofuels is currently building its first biodiesel production plant at Immingham, Humberside. Scheduled to come online at the end of the year, the £13.5m plant will produce more than 114 million litres of pure biodiesel per year at first, but capacity is expected to rise in line with demand.