Sundance Renewables opens biodiesel plant

By | December 01, 2004
An idea sparked by a thesis project in college has been transformed into the first biodiesel production facility to operate in Wales in the United Kingdom.

Sundance Renewables, a non-profit, worker-owned cooperative for renewable energy and sustainability, opened a biodiesel facility in Carmarthenshire, Wales. Final permits were received in October and production began Nov. 1. It marked the first time biodiesel was produced and sold in Wales.

Project Manager Jan Cliff told Biodiesel Magazine that she first thought of producing biodiesel while working on her thesis. Now Sundance Renewables produces 1,500-liter (396-gallon) batches of biodiesel from waste vegetable oil. "We're not doing this for profit," Cliff said. "The motivation comes from providing sustainable jobs and for the environmental benefit."

Nearly 30 percent of the cost of biodiesel to consumers in the U.K. comes in the form of a government tax, Cliff explained. "It's crippling, to be honest," she said. Therefore the group has registered as a waste carrier and collects free waste oil from local businesses. They've already found a consistent customer for the finished product in the Brecon National Park Authority. The park buys 1,000-liter containers.
Sundance also holds training courses for groups or individuals interested in developing their own biodiesel project. Courses can last for two or three days. "We've had very good reports from courses we've had so far," Cliff said.

Cliff said advice is given regarding legislation, financing and operational logistics. Participants also have the opportunity to have hands-on production of biodiesel and operation of a biodiesel plant.

Sundance also offers a turnkey package including everything from feasibility studies, business plans and permit applications to a full design and installation service with operator training and ongoing support. Cliff said the package would have a new project up and running within six months. This timeframe includes the permit application, which can last up to four months.
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