Not so long ago, the idea of turning old chip fat and sewer grease into vehicle fuel would have sounded far-fetched, but Argent Energy has shown what can be achieved if you’re prepared to think the unthinkable.
Jim Walker, Managing Director, explains: "Argent was among the first in the world to manufacture biodiesel from waste and residues on an industrial scale. Today, we are the UK’s leading waste-to-energy biodiesel producer, helping customers to significantly reduce their carbon emissions.
"My advice to anyone starting out is to innovate and don’t be afraid of breaking new ground. Just because no one else is doing it doesn’t mean it can’t be done"
Jim Walker, Managing Director, Argent Energy
"In the early days we used tallow (a by-product of the meat industry) and cooking oil, both of which have few alternative uses. More recently, we have been the first to find a way of turning fats and oils reclaimed from the sewer system into the same high-quality fuel.
"A big technological challenge has been converting low-grade raw materials into the highest quality biodiesel while increasing production. Our technical team used their knowledge and experience to deliver novel solutions, involving new processes and equipment.
"Another challenge has been keeping on top of regulatory changes. In Europe, we see legislation coming out of Brussels which is then interpreted differently in each member state. We have had to be flexible and fleet of foot to react to changes. We would like the UK to argue for a level playing field so that EU legislation is implemented equally across each member state.
No 1 - Argent Energy claims to be the UK’s leading waste-to-energy biodiesel producer
"Recently, we reached an agreement to be bought by John Swire & Sons, the global trading group with strong links in the Asia Pacific region. We have already expanded our customer base across Europe and into the US, but we are now looking forward to using Swire’s global reach to take Argent’s skills further afield, particularly into Asia.
"My advice to anyone starting out is to innovate and don’t be afraid of breaking new ground. Just because no one else is doing it doesn’t mean it can’t be done."