An innovative trial has been launched in Bradford, where excess cooking oils could soon be used to power a selection of the city’s homes.
85 residents across two streets in the Bradford Moor area have been issued with ‘Fat Vats’, plastic buckets in which households are urged to put their waste cooking oil rather than pour it down the drain.
Over the last five years, 80 sewer blockages have been reported by Yorkshire Water in the Bradford Moor area, with fatty oils clogging up the water flow, the main concern.
This new trial not only helps solve the long-standing drainage problem but simultaneously provides homes with renewable energy.
The tubs are collected from resident’s homes and taken to a large waste collection unit, provided by renewable energy experts Living Fuels, which is filled and then taken to one of their energy centres for conversion.
The two streets involved in the trial are Amberley Street and Welland Terrace. Resident of the prior for more than 20 years, Hena Begum, received her Fat Vat earlier this month and although she thought it was a good idea, she added that it may not prove a huge success straight away.
“We have used the buckets but to be honest I have not really found it that helpful,” she said.
“I don’t get enough waste oil to put in the Fat Vat but I can see how it may be good if a lot of houses were all putting their oil in.
“If it stops drain problems then it is of course a good thing so I have been putting in what little I do use.”
Waste oil gathered from just one of the collection units, which can hold in excess of 1,000 litres, could go on to provide the power to make 250,000 cups of tea, or power a microwave for 3,000 hours.
Duncan Woodhead, Network Protection Technician at Yorkshire Water, was delighted to launch the programme and said he was looking forward to seeing the results.
He said: “We’ve been working closely with local residents and are asking them to do their bit by not tipping their waste cooking fats, oils and greases down the sewer.
“A lot of people don’t realise the damage this can do because these liquids solidify when they get down to the sewers and that can cause blockages. We are all now looking forward to experiencing the benefits this new trial will bring.”
110 kilotonnes of used cooking oil is disposed of each year by UK householders, which could power 110,000 homes with carbon neutral electricity.