An innovative Bradford scheme which is simultaneously helping to turn fat into power and preventing blocked pipes is being expanded after the initial 6-month trial proved so successful.
Yorkshire Water began the unique ‘fat vat’ scheme in the Bradford Moor area in March, asking residents to collect used cooking oil in 5-litre containers rather than pouring it down the drain.
And the 85 residents in the area have taken to it with such gusto that over 500 litres of used cooking oil has been collected since the trial was started.
That liquid, which is converted into a bio fuel by renewable energy experts Living Fuels, could provide enough power to make 125,000 cups of Yorkshire tea or even power a microwave continuously for 1,500 hours.
As well as generating renewable energy, the scheme also prevents blockages in the sewer created by ‘fatbergs’. These large obstacles are created when fats, oils and greases are poured down the sink before gathering and solidifying as they cool down.
The Bradford trial has been such a success that since it was launched seven months ago, there hasn’t been a single blockage on either of the streets involved. That’s a great result considering that houses in the Bradford Moor area have previously experienced more than 80 sewage blockage incidents in the past five years – with the main cause being identified as cooking oils being poured down people’s sinks, causing blockages in the pipes.
And those encouraging signs have resulted in Yorkshire Water now looking to expand the project to another 50 houses around Byron Street.
Duncan Woodhead, Network Protection Technician at Yorkshire Water, said: “The response from the local community to this trial has been excellent and people really do understand the difference they can make by changing their behaviour.
“We’ve been delighted with the amount of liquid we’ve managed to collect already and are looking forward to offering this to more people, which will help us generate more renewable energy and further reduce the amount of fats, oils and greases entering our network.”
Yorkshire Water has been working with the Bradford Moor-based Karmand Centre to understand residents’ cooking habits and spread the message about the impact of pouring used cooking oil down the drain.
Nasa Hussain, from the Karmand Centre, said: “By working together, Yorkshire Water and the Karmand Centre have succeeded in changing the way people in this small area of Bradford dispose of their cooking oil. Most people were unaware of what happened when oil was poured into the drains but this scheme has made a difference."
Yorkshire Water invested £2.3 million in improving the area’s sewerage system last year and has since asked residents to get into the habit of pouring their waste cooking oil into the ‘Fat Vats’.