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Biodiesel trial sees 19% CO2 reduction

Date: 24 February 2011   |   Author: Rachel Burgess

The Environment Agency is increasing its biodiesel use in a pilot as part of its continuous plans to cut costs and become more green.

For two years it has used a diesel fuel mixture containing 22% biodiesel in a small fleet of vehicles, which had led to a 19% drop in emissions. The EA will now increase the amount of biodiesel to 25% to gauge the effects.

Fleet manager Mark Ford-Powell said the technique, which uses cooking oil could save 500 tonnes of CO2 a year in the future for the EA. The agency also has 12 hybrid vans, which have showed a 25% improvement in fuel economy, said Ford-Powell. "The more of us that have this technology in our fleet, the more the price should reduce," he added. "Manufacturers need to start bringing prices down."

The moves are part of a revolving fleet strategy that started three years ago with four key goals: to be environmental and fit for purpose, as well as to improve health and safety and provide value for money.

Since its introduction, the EA has launched a travel hierarchy that makes staff consider whether they can use the phone or video conferencing, or whether they can use public transport, rather than drive. If they do drive it must be in the most fuel-efficient vehicle. Implementation of this hierarchy has saved the EA 14 million miles' worth of driving.

The agency has also reduced its fleet by 15%, saving £10m, and ensured people were in the right vehicle for the right job. "We searched the marketplace to see what we could use to save money and use less CO2 and in turn, downsize the fleet," said Ford-Powell.

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