Barking has been chosen as the pilot area for a green-travel initiative to test the wider use of biodiesel to fuel the capital's buses.
The move, which will see all 120 buses operating out of Barking Bus Garage using a blend of regular diesel and used cooking oil, is also designed to attract investment for the construction of a London biodiesel refinery.
The Greater London Authority said a 50,000-litre Honeywell Enraf Fusion4 Microblender had been installed at the Barking depot to enable biofuel to be mixed on-site rather than pre-mixed with standard diesel at a refinery and then transported to the capital.
Matthew Pencharz, London Mayor Boris Johnson’s senior advisor for environment and energy, said the capital’s 8,700-strong bus fleet consumed around 250 million litres of fuel a year, 3.7 million litres of which was used by buses operating out of the Barking garage alone.
“The mayor has called for investment in a large-scale biodiesel refinery in the capital and with London operating one of the biggest bus fleets in the world, this pilot is an important step in demonstrating to the UK’s biodiesel industry that there is a huge potential demand for it here,” he said.
Transport for London director of buses Mike Weston said the Barking initiative was “a significant development” in the wider programme to continually improve the green credentials of the capital’s bus fleet.
“Using biodiesel recycles waste products, reduces carbon emissions, and we hope that by successfully trialling it we will encourage other transport operators to consider using it too,” he said.
Biodiesel is made from used cooking oil from the catering industry and tallow, which is a residue from the meat processing trade. Buses running on it are estimated to produce 15 per cent fewer "well to wheel" carbon emissions than an ordinary diesel-powered bus.
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