The UK Renderers' Association (UKRA) has come out in favour of using rejected and unusable food materials to create biofuels.
David Green, technical director of the UKRA, said food industry by-products and residues were ideal as second-generation biofuels. "Biofuel crops are being grown at the expense of rainforest and virgin lands cleared specifically for this purpose and are, therefore, becoming increasingly unsustainable. Using potential food crops as biofuel sources distorts the supply and availability of these foods.
"By-products processed and utilised as fuel by UKRA members are far more sustainable and fit well under the label of second-generation biofuels."
Green said the rendering process produced two potential biofuels - a rendered meal and tallow, a fat. "Tests indicate that tallow can be used to replace fuel oil in industrial boilers, with massive reductions in sulphur dioxide and direct carbon dioxide emissions. The fact that tallow is a biomass will make the overall lifecycle savings of carbon dioxide even higher," he said.
The rendered meal could also be used as a sustainable fuel.
"UKRA members now have most rendering plants running without the use of fossil fuels; power plants using meal that export green electricity to the National Grid; and increasing use of meal and tallow as biofuels in a range of industries."