Cutting biofuel costs with bulk storage

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Bulk storage terminals play a critical role in the supply chain of renewable fuel production by providing a central location for the storage, blending and the distribution of fuels.
These terminals are typically located near transportation hubs such as ports, rail yards and highways, allowing them to efficiently receive and distribute renewable fuels to end-users.
In the context of renewable fuel production, bulk storage terminals are particularly important enabling the efficient storage and distribution of biofuels, which have different properties than traditional petroleum fuels.
Storage capacity
Biofuels, such as ethanol, hydrotreated vegetable oils (HVO) and biodiesel, are typically produced in different locations and require specialised storage and handling equipment to ensure their quality and safety.
Bulk storage terminals can also play a key role in the blending of renewable fuels with traditional petroleum fuels, such as gasoline and diesel. This can help to increase the overall use of renewable fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
For example, ethanol can be blended with gasoline to create a fuel blend known as E10, which contains 10% ethanol and is commonly used in many countries.
Similarly, HVO is a drop-in replacement to ultra-low sulphur diesel, requires no blending with mineral diesel and offsets greenhouse gas emissions by 90%.
In addition to their storage and blending functions, bulk storage terminals can also provide a range of value-added services to their customers, such as fuel testing, quality control, and transportation logistics.
By offering these services, bulk storage terminals can help to reduce costs and improve efficiency throughout the supply chain.
UM Terminals is taking its value-add services one step further by offering the pre-treatment of biofuel feedstocks. Used cooking oil (UCO) and rendered animal fat are by far the most abundant raw materials to produce HVO and biodiesel in the UK. Our storage terminals act as a consolidation and pre-treatment hub for these materials for several fuel producers that operate globally.
Pre-treatment of UCO and tallow is an important step in the production of biofuels helping to improve the quality, reduce shipping costs and improve yield of the final product.
UCO and tallow can contain impurities such as food particles, water, and other contaminants, which can affect the quality of the biofuel. Filtering the oil through a series of screens and filters can help to remove these impurities and ensure a cleaner, more consistent feedstock.
Heating these materials and settling the water impurities also means that the exported materials contain no water solids, which reduces shipping costs and helps biofuel refineries be more efficient in increasing product yield.
Overall, pre-treatment of UCO and tallow is an important step in the production of high-quality biofuels.
By removing impurities, reducing free fatty acids (FFA) and increasing the stability of the oil, pre-treatment can help to improve the yield, efficiency and quality of the final product.
Due to its experience in this area, UM Terminals is seeing a sharp increase in enquiries for its biofuels services, driven by the looming 2030 deadline for the phasing out of new diesel vehicles and the UK government’s 2050 target to reach net-zero carbon.
UM Terminals, which has its head office in Liverpool, is ideally positioned to support the varied requirements of its customers, including some of the world’s largest blue-chip organisations, from its network of eight terminals strategically located across the UK.
The business has a current capacity of over 300,000 cubic metres of bulk liquid storage, but with an ambition to increase this to around 400,000 cubic metres.
The UM Terminals’ portfolio consists of a broad portfolio of around 40 products including vegetable oils, industrial, food and feed, chemical, fertiliser, fuels, biofuels and base oils.
Value-added services include biofuel feedstock pre-treatment, blending, water dilution, product packing, HMRC bonded warehouse and COMAH compliance. UM Terminals is part of the United Molasses Group.
For more information: This article was written by Phil McEvoy, managing director of UM Terminals. Visit: umterminals.co.uk

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