From the hot­pot and woks into the petrol tank

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI -

At the Jin­feng gas sta­tion along the Shang­hai-Hangzhou ex­press­way, more and more truck driv­ers have been pump­ing biodiesel in­stead of reg­u­lar diesel into their ve­hi­cles.

The rea­son is sim­ple: the biodiesel is cheaper.

What most driv­ers don’t know is that the B5 biodiesel they have been us­ing are pro­duced from waste cook­ing oil col­lected across the city.

In a news con­fer­ence held by the Shang­hai mu­nic­i­pal govern­ment on Sept 13, of­fi­cials an­nounced that the city has suc­cess­fully built a re­cy­cling sys­tem in which waste cook­ing oil, or “gut­ter oil”, are col­lected be­fore turned into biodiesel that is sold at 40 gas sta­tions.

Yang Jin­song, di­rec­tor of the Shang­hai Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion, said an av­er­age of 150 met­ric tons of waste cook­ing oils are col­lected at restau­rants in the city ev­ery day. This year, about 30,000 tons of biodiesel were cre­ated from these cook­ing oils.

The re­cy­cling sys­tem is the lat­est re­sponse to the food safety scan­dal in 2011 when lo­cal me­dia re­leased a re­port on how some com­pa­nies were us­ing dis­carded cook­ing oils.

“The prac­tice of re­cy­cling gut­ter oil is on its last legs,” de­clared Yang at the con­fer­ence.

The new re­cy­cling sys­tem uses big data to mon­i­tor the process of trucks, and the type and time of waste oil col­lected. By us­ing big data, only a few peo­ple are re­quired to over­see the oil dis­posal prac­tices of thou­sands of restau­rants in Shang­hai.”

More than 34,000 food and cater­ing busi­nesses in Shang­hai are now reg­is­tered in the sys­tem, Xu added.

The col­lected waste oils are trans­ported to Zhongqi En­vi­ron­ment Tech­nol­ogy, a com­pany founded in 2005 that spe­cial­izes in pro­duc­ing biodiesel from waste cook­ing oil. The biodiesel is then dis­trib­uted to Sinopec gas sta­tions in Shang­hai.

Zhang Xue­wang, chair­man of the board at Zhongqi, said that while the com­pany only man­aged to pro­duce 10,000 tons of waste cook­ing oil in 2011, it can now gen­er­ate more than 40,000 tons.

To en­cour­age us­age of this new fuel, the mu­nic­i­pal govern­ment and Sinopec have been dish­ing out sub­si­dies.

“When we first started sup­ply­ing this biodiesel to Jin­feng sta­tion in Jan­uary, its sales only ac­counted for 15 per­cent of the to­tal. Now, it ac­counts for 60 per­cent,” said Lyu Wei, deputy gen­eral man­ager of Sinopec Mar­ket­ing Shang­hai Com­pany.

Ac­cord­ing to Lyu, 54 mil­lion liters of the biodiesel have been con­sumed across 40 gas sta­tions in the city as of the end of Au­gust. The com­pany is now plan­ning to sup­ply the B5 biodiesel to 200 gas sta­tions in the city by the end of the year.

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