Richard Simpson, owner of the Cummin Up chain of Carribbean restaurants in Lewisham (who also incidentally stood for the Greens in Ladywell in 2002) just called to tell me about his latest business venture. Working with a partner, AC Energy is going to be collecting and converting the used cooking oil from restaurants in the area and converting it into biodiesel, which will then be offered back to the same businesses to power their vehicles. The website isn't quite there yet, but they have the waste licence and are launching soon. Sounds promising.
Maybe one small upside of higher fuel prices will be more cooking oil is recycled and less ends up clogging up London's sewers? While Greens have joined many NGOs in expressing concern at the devastating consequences of land being used to grow fuel crops, or agrofuels (leading to higher global food prices, feeding the cars of the rich rather than the mouths of the hungry etc, rainforest being cleared to grow palm oil, destroying habitat which may lead to the extinction of the oranguatan in the wild etc), biodiesel from waste cooking oil is to be welcomed. It is only ever likely to fuel a small percentage of the cars currently on the road, and in a world of high oil prices and an urgent need to cut carbon emissions, reducing private vehicle use and switching to electric cars is key, but biofuel from waste cooking oil can have a role, even if just in a limited way.
See Biofuel Watch or the Greenpeace website for more info on the issue.