London to get ring of biofuel power stations

London is to get a ring of veg oil fueled electricity generation stations, according to a report on the BBC.

What is not clear from the report, which says the company planning to build up to eight stations, is the economics. At what price does veg oil become uneconomical and is there really enough used veg oil within an 80 km radius of each plant sustain power stations each generataing enough electricty for 100 000 homes?

Blue NG has changed its message about sourcing biofuel possibly as a result of getting planning permission to build the first plant in Becton, East London.

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2 Responses to London to get ring of biofuel power stations

  1. Pradeep 22 January, 2009 at 5:56 pm #

    Simon,
    Taking the electricity consumption values for U.S. homes, each home consumes ~10.6 MWh/year. 100,000 homes would require ~121 MWe power plant. Assuming efficiencies of 30%, the amount of used veg oil (37 MJ/kg) required for each plant is 0.35 million metric tons (MT)/year.

    UK caterers produce 50-90 million liters of cooking oil/year. This is a mere 0.04-0.08 MT/year. Unless they are planning to use straight veggie oils or other biofuels, I do not see even a single plant producing enough electricity to power 100,000 homes.

  2. Simon Robinson 24 January, 2009 at 1:56 am #

    Pradeep, thanks for doing some sums around this. I think that the plan is to use straight veg oil, according to the BBC report. But even so I’d be surprised if we happen to grow that amount of veg oil within an 80km (50 mile) radius of London. It’s just not that big a crop here. I guess if they were going to use oil from all of London’s kebab shops/burger bars they’d get close. We have real problems in the centre of London with sewers silting up like arteries with large fat build ups… simon

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