£1.7m boost for biofuel firm

The Argent Energy plant in Newarthill
The Argent Energy plant in Newarthill

A Newarthill project promoting the use of biodiesels has been awarded £1.7 million in EU funding.

Argent Energy will coordinate partners from Austria, France and two from the UK, Perth-based Stagecoach Bus and Liverpool John Moores University, to recover waste oils and fats.

They will then demonstrate how these can be converted into a sustainable component of biodiesel production with improved costs, conversion and high fuel quality.

The Argent Energy-led biofuel team called BioDie2020 is one of a number of innovative pan-European projects to benefit from the Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) pilot scheme.

FTI provides funding as a part of the EU’s nearly-£70 billion Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme which supports mature innovation concepts which are close to full marketability, providing investment in the final stages of testing, piloting and validation.

A spokesperson for Argent Energy said: “Biodiesel can be produced from a wide range of oil-based materials.

“Our raw materials are tallow, a residue from the meat industry, and used cooking oil, which is a waste from the catering sector.

“Using feedstocks that are wastes and residues of other industries means that as well as delivering significant greenhouse gas savings over mineral diesel, our biodiesel is also highly sustainable.

“In fact it is the most sustainable of any of the current commercial biofuels.”

Since the launch of the FTI scheme in January 2015, 74 UK beneficiaries have led or been involved in projects, and have received over £62 million of EU funds.

UK businesses and projects have been the largest beneficiary of the scheme by far, with Germany and its 46 FTI-funded institutions taking second place.

Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation said: “Independent experts have confirmed that our research and innovation investments are supporting world class science and improving our citizen’s welfare.

“We are now using the lessons learned to further improve Horizon 2020, the new EU research and innovation funding programme, and make it simpler, more effective and more focused on finding innovative solutions to benefit our society and economy.”