With increasing pressures on the world's oil reserves and rising fuel prices,
a better alternative to fossil fuels being used for energy has frantically
been sought and now is the time for action. Biodiesel has proven to be non-carcinogenic,
non-allergenic and biodegradable and exhaust emissions are greatly reduced.
Biodiesel is made from fresh rapeseed oil or recovered cooking oil and can fuel
many cars without any engine modifications. In addition to the significant environmental
benefits, biodiesel also attracts a reduction in fuel tax, making it increasingly
more popular than its traditional counterpart
“500,000 ha could produce,
in an environmentally and agricultural sustainable way, up to 1 million
tonnes of biodiesel.”
(British Association for Bio Fuels and Oils)
Biodiesel has the potential to create jobs in the Northern Ireland agricultural
sector. It is a niche area that few have taken advantage of and current opportunities
exist for interested individuals and groups.
Two powerful reasons for developing liquid biofuel production,
as identified by the British Association for Bio Fuels and Oils
- Insurance against
catastrophic interruption of imported or even home produced fossil derived
- The wisdom of developing a large-scale
farming land use to buffer changes in the economically justified
size of the food sector .
At the moment it is not economically viable for farmers to try to produce
their own rape seed oil. The tax paid on the fuel is high, resulting in low
profits for farmers. However, it is quite certain that the government will
soon introduce an increased tax rebate to be in line with other European countries.
In addition to this, there is the opportunity for farmers to refine used oil,
e.g. from chip shops, in order to produce biodiesel. This is cheaper than producing
the rape seed oil, but is a more difficult process than refining oil seed rape.
Diversitec Limited's Managing Director, Robert Poots , visited Germany in
June 2004 on a renewable energy study tour and has first hand experience of
the opportunities available to those interested in renewable energy, including
The UK and Ireland have much to learn from other European countries, where
many farmers are taking advantage of their assets and diversifying into renewable
energy production. For more information on biodiesel and other diversification
opportunities, please contact us.