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Milbank swaps diesel for vegetable oil

by Liam Turner
a red petrol pump on a bed of grain

Milbank Concrete Products has announced it is to swap regular diesel for biodisel with immediate effect.

The Colchester-based precast concrete firm is using hydro-treated vegetable oil (HVO) as a more environmentally friendly fuel alternative to regular diesel, and is encouraging other precast manufacturers to also consider making the switch.

All Milbank’s production machinery – including fork trucks, loading shovels, and dumpers – will transition from the use of regular diesel to HVO.

In a statement, the company said: “It’s no secret that the manufacture of precastconcrete is notoriously detrimental to the environment and plays a key role in the production of harmful CO2 emissions produced by the construction industry.

“After coal-powered electricity, use of cement is the next biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, accounting for approximately 5% of annual anthropogenic global CO2 production, with one-tonne of CO2 produced for every tonne of cement.

“Immediate action is required to improve sustainability, reduce carbon emissions and work towards a greener future – and it’s not as difficult as you might think.”

Milbank Concrete Products had already introduced a wood-pellet-fuelled biomass boiler and electric vehicle charging points, with the next part of its future sustainability strategy focussed on the reduction of diesel use within their site operations.

Following extensive trials, the company found that by adopting 100% HVO, greenhouse gas emissions produced by their machinery reduced by up to 90%, with a 35% reduction in particulate mass and a 30% reduction of CO2 company wide.

Currently, 75,000 litres of diesel are used every year by the firm at its manufacturing facilities, all of which to be substituted for the green biofuel alternative.

Commenting on the move, chair Sean Milbank said: “We believe that as custodians of this type of business, we have a responsibility and duty to invest in technologies and processes to reduce our impact on the environment and hopefully encourage our customers, suppliers and competitors to follow suit.”

HVO meets EN 15940 standards and the Fuel Quality Directive 2009/30/EC Annex II, meaning it can be used as a direct, drop-in alternative to mineral diesel.

Image: Matt Benoit/Shutterstock

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