United Biscuits to roll out waste cooking oil for lorries

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

United Biscuits to roll out waste cooking oil for lorries

Related tags United biscuits

United Biscuits (UB) has developed a sustainability initiative by using waste cooking oil to power 12 of its lorries and plans to roll out the project further across the business.

It also recently converted two Euro VI vehicles to run on Ultra Biofuel. The lorries operate at 44 tonnes and transport up to 26 tonnes of UB’ brands including McVitie’s Digestives, Jaffa Cake, Rich Tea, Jacobs Crackers, Twiglets and Mini Cheddars.  



The waste vegetable oil, a by-product from snacks manufacturing, is processed into Ultra Biofuel and the adapted lorry fleet are set to recycle 500 tonnes of waste cooking oil a year.  

The project is due to a partnership with Convert2Green (formerly Biomotive Fuels) to develop an engine modification across UB’s lorry fleet which has allowed its trucks to be 100% fuelled by waste oils. 

Rob Wright, head of distribution, UB, told FoodProductionDaily the results of the trial are surpassing all its expectations for reduced CO2​ and tailpipe emission. 

We moved to the new technology, and converted 10 Euro V engined trucks, in February 2013. Based on the success of this trial, we have just converted two brand new Euro VI engined vehicles to prove the emissions benefits on the latest specification vehicles​,” he said.  

“The Energy Institute at the University of Leeds is carrying out detailed analysis and we are also submitting all trial results to Cenex, who carefully monitor the trial. The results are surpassing our expectations for reduced CO2 and tailpipe emission. This is attracting much interest​. 

Convert2Green, our partners, have seen a lot of interest in this technology. We are hosting a number of reference visits for other companies who are looking to explore the technology​. 

It is estimated there are 250 million litres of waste oil generated in the UK each year. If this waste stream could be captured and used, it could make a significant reduction in CO2 emissions from transport in the UK. This same technology will also work with animal fats, further increasing the benefits​.”    

62 longer trailers

Estimated to save up to 97% in CO2​ emissions, compared to traditional diesel fuel, the project forms part of the company’s ‘Fewer and Friendlier Miles’ campaign.  Since the launch of the campaign in 2006, it has removed 20m truck miles from UK roads. 

We originally began a trial with one truck back in 2011 with a company called Biomotive Fuels, who had developed a method of powering a diesel engine with waste vegetable oil,​” added Wright. 

Biomotive Fuels are now part of a company called Convert2Green, who are our partners in this trial. Convert2Green collect, process and supply the waste vegetable oil. Convert2Green and United Biscuits moved to a new technology in late 2012 supplied by a German company called Bioltec​.” 

The project will sit alongside other sustainability initiatives by UB including the recent introduction of 62 longer trailers, which are projected to save 450,000 truck miles on UK roads each year. 

It has also installed a 30,000-litre heated re-fuelling station at UB’s Ashby depot.

Our target by 2020 is 50% CO2 ​reduction from all our transport operations​,” said Wright. 

UB owns and operates 12 manufacturing facilities of which seven are in the UK.   

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