Donut worry – Renewable fuel can be made out of bakery leftover

Whenever oil is used for cooking, it runs the risk of being wasted – but that’s not how it should be. Even low quality waste fats can be used to produce high quality renewable fuel.

Nothing stirs our taste buds like a deep-fried donut, but what we often forget to consider is that when cooking oil used to fry food, it runs the risk of being poured down the drain, where it can – and will – cause unfortunate blockages.

Breaking down and cleaning up grease blockages is both challenging and expensive for municipalities, so kitchens are instructed to dispose their cooking oil in shut containers, along with the rest of their garbage. But whilst a downright nuisance in sewers, cooking oil certainly doesn’t belong at the landfill either, because it can be used as an excellent feedstock for renewable diesel.

So how does that happen?

Typically, waste fat has a lot of impurities, which need to be removed before it can be utilized as raw material for renewable diesel. However, Neste has developed a technology that allows raw material purification, after which the oil can be fed into the refinery and processed into a fuel. As a result, it is possible to widen the range of suitable raw materials to cover virtually any source containing fat.

The Doughnut Trick

To demonstrate the possibilities of utilizing used cooking oil in renewable fuel production, Neste and Fazer Bakery joined forces for the Doughnut Trick, performed on May Day, 2017. The oil used by Fazer Bakery to fry their May Day doughnuts was refined into Neste MY Renewable Diesel.

The stunt generated an incredible 1200 litres of renewable diesel. The oil used to fry every three doughnuts was calculated to produce enough renewable diesel to drive a distance of one kilometer. The value of the fuel was donated to the Finnish chapter of the SOS Children’s Village International.

Your doughnut could support the circular economy

So, instead of disposing waste fat or pouring it down the drain, it can be used as an energy source. Producing fuels from waste and residue is sensible, because compared to fossil-based diesel, Neste MY Renewable Diesel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90%. That, if anything, demonstrates circular economy at its best.

On a global level, it is likely that the significance of the circular economy and the necessity to reduce waste will only increase in the foreseeable future. But we must not forget, that even waste can have super powers – so donut underestimate it.

We have embarked on a journey towards a carbon neutral future. However, it takes more than one to reach zero. Together with our partners, Neste will explore new ideas and steer the world towards a better future.