Turning used frying oil into fuel


Normal consumers are able to drop off their used frying oil in collection vessels in supermarkets and recycling centres. Meanwhile, 65,000 tonnes are collected annually from 70,000 chip shops, restaurants, hospital kitchens, fast food chains and crisp factories across the Benelux, France and Germany by the family company Quatra from Lokeren, in the Belgian province of East Flanders, where it is turned into biodiesel for cars and soon aeroplanes.

Among the European climate measures was the introduction of new biodiesel directives on 1 January 2020. From now on, it is obligatory for 10% biodiesel to be mixed in at Belgium pumps. Fat from offal and used frying oil are increasingly emerging as a raw material. Quatra took advantage of this trend by investing in additional production capacity and taking over a fellow industry member. In doing so, the company instantly doubled its size and is now market leader in Belgium, the Netherlands and France, not to mention the largest player in Europe. The turnover in this flourishing sector is keeping pace.

Everything depends on well-oiled logistics. The frying oil is collected locally in blue barrels, accumulated in various depots within 50 km and transferred to lorries going to the factory in Lokeren. It filters out all the impurities and then takes the purified oil to a company that processes it into biodiesel.