In Shoreham, on the south coast of England, they’re building a clean energy plant that will operate on basically the same fuel as your biodiesel-retrofitted Jetta. The plant will burn used cooking oil, tall oil pitch (whatever that is), animal tallow, and waste vegetable oils to potentially provide as many as 20,000 Brits with power for their tellies, their electric kettles, and their weird little heating units that don’t really make you very warm.
In addition to basically running off fish & chips byproducts, the plant scores high green marks for other reasons: Since the site is in a major port, no new roads will need to be constructed to transport materials, and the plant’s electricity will also come from recycled fuel.
Edgely Green Power hopes to have the plant up and running by 2014, in time to help comply with the European Union’s directive that 15 percent of the U.K.’s energy should come from renewable sources by 2020. That will largely mean the usual suspects like wind and solar, but throwing in food unfit for human consumption makes a lot of sense, since that’s what the British run on already.