University of Bradford signs up to Yorkshire Water “Fats to fuel” recycling project

A “fats to fuel” recycling project devised by Yorkshire Water that harnesses energy from waste cooking oil has received the support of up to 1,000 students from the University of Bradford.

The university’s student village in Bradford city centre, called The Green, is already recognised as the most sustainable development of its kind in the world and its 1,000 students will now be encouraged to recycle their waste cooking oil, rather than pouring it down the kitchen sink.

Just one litre of the cooking oils can generate enough electricity to make 240 cups of tea or power a flastscreen television for three hours and a microwave for five hours.

The unique project is being led by the Karmand Community Centre in Bradford Moor.  It also has support from Bradford MP Imran Hussain, the Mayor of Bradford  and also Yorkshire Water as less waste cooking oil poured down kitchen sinks means less risk of blockages to its underground sewer system in the city.

Duncan Woodhead, network protection technician at Yorkshire Water, said: “We are delighted the University of Bradford has signed up the this scheme led by the Karmand Centre, which is now expanding throughout the city at a rapid rate. Recycling cooking fats into fuel has great renewable energy potential and can also really help us protect the city’s sewer system from blockages caused by cooking oil. This will ultimately mean less money spent on sewer repairs and help us keep customers’ bills as low as possible.”

In 2013, Yorkshire Water invested £2.3M on the sewer system in Bradford including work on sewer blockages. But through this initiative, the firm hopes to reduce this spend to help keep customers bills as low as possible.

Students living at The Green have been supplied with ‘fat vat’ containers so that after cooking they can collect their waste cooking oils and greases. The containers, once full, will then be collected by the Karmand Centre to sell to renewable energy companies to refine and turn into carbon neutral bio fuel.

Ben Tongue, environmental manager from the University of Bradford, said: “This scheme makes The Green even more sustainable, now you can recycle, compost your food waste and turn your waste cooking oil into biofuel! This is a great element of our Eco-versity programme pushing sustainability at the university and helping us to make a 35% reduction in our carbon footprint since 2005.”

Since the scheme began in 2014, it has already been a great success with 1,000 litres of cooking oil collected and diverted from Bradford’s sewers.  The tubs of cooking oil are collected by the Karmand Community Centre in a specially branded van provided by Yorkshire Water. 

110 kilotonnes of used cooking oil is disposed of each year by UK households, which could power 110,000 homes with carbon neutral electricity.

The 'fat van' that the Karmand Centre use to collect the fat containers from the University of Bradford
The “fat van” that the Karmand Centre use to collect the fat containers from the University of Bradford

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