The biodiesel produced at the Lippe Plant really does deserve its name. No valuable plant resources (such as oilseed rape or maize) are used to make this fuel – only non-recyclable residual material. Residual materials are transformed into fuel. This truly is sustainability in practice.
The first time that fuel was produced from animal fat and old cooking oil at the Lippe Plant was back at the beginning of the 21st Century. At a time, therefore, when biodiesel was not a big issue in Germany. One of the reasons behind this decision was the fact that one of the residual products generated by the rendering plant – namely, animal fat – was a high energy material. But that was not all. Animal fat has another big advantage: the fuel produced from it is much better for our climate than fossil fuels. A number of papers have documented this including a study published in 2015 by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU) in Heidelberg. It shows that greenhouse gas emissions from biodiesel made from animal fat are 85% lower than from fossil fuels. This figure has increased since then and is now estimated to be around 90%.
ecoMotion – made from animal fat, waste cooking oil and deep-frying oil – is the most sustainable and environmentally friendly type of biodiesel currently being produced on an industrial scale
Turning residual waste into something useful is a win-win situation and this is most certainly true for our biodiesel. Fallen farm stock must, by law, be sent for disposal – for example, to prevent the spread of disease. The animal fat generated as a part of this disposal process must also be incinerated. This fat may, therefore, be used to produce electricity in a waste-to-energy plant. However, it can also be used as a fuel in an internal combustion engine – a far more sustainable use of this material. We make the very most of a residual material, therefore, turning an obligation into something really useful. Find out more about the disposal of high risk animal by-products
Second-generation, resource-friendly biodiesel can play an important role as we gradually switch over to e-mobility. Not least because it helps us to use our dwindling reserves of crude oil more economically. However, no matter how sustainable it may be: biodiesel made from animal fat and old cooking oil is still the exception rather than the rule in Germany. The reason for this is not the product itself but the framework conditions. The oil industry here in Germany is obliged to fulfil a number of legal requirements to help curb climate change. As biodiesel made from animal fat is not included in the country’s official greenhouse gas quota (unlike biodiesel made from vegetable fat), the oil industry is showing very little interest in buying it to blend it with standard fuels. The situation is very different in other countries, where biodiesel made from animal fat is seen as a very useful way to help prevent climate change. The result: the biodiesel produced at the Lippe Plant is sold on other European markets as there are simply not enough customers here in Germany. All in all, the country is really not making the most of this opportunity to promote both the local ecomony and the sustainable use of residual materials.
The production of biodiesel generates zero waste, i.e. 100% of the input material is able to be put to good use. By-products resulting from this process, such as glycerine, are used in the Lippe Plant itself or by external companies for their industrial processes. Producing biodiesel from animal fat and old cooking oil is quite a bit more complicated than standard biodiesel production systems using rapeseed or palm oil. This is because it needs two additional stages: pre-esterification and distillation. The following graphic explains the process in more detail.
Producing diesel made from animal and vegetable residual materials – that certainly doesn’t sound as if it’s an aesthetically pleasing business. The reality though is really very different. Practically all of the visitors to the facility are surprised by just how clean the diesel production plant actually is. Not a speck of dirt to be seen; instead a great deal of stainless steel and clean production halls. What’s more, our output material is just as fascinating to look at. Biodiesel is an extremely pure, crystal clear product – as clear as water.
Cutting emissions by 488,000 tonnes every year, the Lippe Plant has an excellent environmental performance – and our biodiesel production operations are one of the main reasons for these results. The environmentally friendly fuel produced here not only reduces emissions of CO2 but also of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and soot. This is important as it is the latter that cause the most damage to the climate alongside carbon dioxide.
Using the biodiesel made at the Lippe Plant cuts CO2 emissions by 150,000t every year – the same amount of emissions produced by 160 articulated lorries run on normal diesel over the same period
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