Environmentally conscious roof tile manufacturer, Sandtoft
Roof Tiles Ltd (Doncaster, South Yorks, England) has taken the radical step
of installing 100% biodiesel pumps and storage tanks at its Doncaster HQ. The
move follows persistent and passionate research from Sandtoft and represents
the first benchmark in ambitious plans to convert all of the companys
fleet vehicles to 100% biodiesel within three years.
Simon Oldridge, Sandtofts Managing Director, commented: "Through
our research we have found that converting to 100 percent biodiesel is a great
way to achieve reductions in CO2, but we have been very frustrated at the obstacles
we have found whilst pursuing the idea of converting our fleet. One of the key
issues was finding somewhere local to refuel, so the obvious step was to install
pumps at our own offices".
The Sandtoft pumps dispense 100% Rapeseed Methyl Ester (RME) biodiesel, which
is produced to EN14214 quality standards and derives from oilseed rape. Although
a 5% biodiesel mix is more common in the UK, Sandtoft was dissatisfied with
the reduction in carbon emissions this offered and began looking into 100% biodiesel
as a viable option. Compared with conventional diesel, 100% biodiesel can reduce
greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90%, meaning Simon Oldridges car alone
will save 6,900kg of CO2 being released into the atmosphere each year.
Simon Oldridge continued: "As with a number of our green policies, the
switch has required a financial investment, spending more on our fuel per litre;
but we believe the benefits of the move far outweigh any financial cost.
"In our view, businesses in the UK have a responsibility to generate a
demand for biodiesel in order to catalyse this progression, and the government
also has a responsibility to provide financial incentives for switching to biodiesel.
At 28p, duty on biodiesel is 20p less than the 48p on regular diesel, but this
still leaves biodiesel too expensive for most people to consider making the
transition. We strongly urge government to eliminate duty on biodiesel in order
to kick-start the market. Once the market is established and scale economies
kick in, duty can be ratcheted back up."
According to the Energy Saving Trust, the transportation of construction materials
accounts for around 5% of the UKs total energy burden. Sandtoft is encouraging
its haulage contractors to switch to biodiesel through an incentive programme,
whereby those using biodiesel vehicles will be given priority over other contractors
when competing for work. Sandtoft has announced that further financial incentives
will be introduced in 2008.
Sandtoft already has four of its own vehicles running on biodiesel, all of
which are manufactured by Audi; the rest of the companys 50 vehicles will
be gradually replaced with biodiesel-compatible alternatives by December 2009.
Although Audi has now fully approved the use of 100% biodiesel with certain
models for Sandtoft, it did require communication with the manufacturers
HQ in Germany to gain clearance.
Simon Oldridge explained: "Audi cars can be warranted to run on biodiesel
in Germany, where the fuel is far more commonplace, yet Audi initially seemed
unwilling to clear the use of biodiesel for the same vehicles in the UK. It
was another example of the resistance we met when pursuing this idea, but it
was again overcome through research and communication."
"Essentially," he continued, "the switch to biodiesel has gone
very smoothly, but it has taken a surprising amount of persistence from our
side of things to get where we are today. When the environmental benefits are
so clear, that really shouldnt be the case. Combined with our recent switch
to 100 percent renewable electricity, we have now made two of the most effective
changes a business can make to reduce its carbon emissions through energy use
but we dont intend to stop there."