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Alternative fuels for clean mobility: Implementing the UCO to biodiesel chain in Rethymno

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A new “smart” Used Cooking Oil (UCO) collection system was launched in Rethymno in August 2018. Aiming to increase the efficiency of waste management and to promote clean fuels, the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Systems Lab (ReSEL) of the Technical University of Crete, in collaboration with the Municipality of Rethymno and local stakeholders, defined an operational scheme for a full UCO-to-biodiesel chain andcombined new “smart” systems to optimise the UCO collection process.

30 new collections points were introduced in the wider area of the Municipality, each one carrying a sensor combined with GSM technology. The sensor allows real-time data transfer to a web-based platform, in order to continuously monitor the filling level and the location of the bins. Based on the data collected, the platform provides the optimum routes for the UCO collector, while the system is capable to send alerts to the administrators in case of leaks, temperature rise, unauthorised movements or damage. Dedicated signage designed by TUC, was applied on the bins to promote proper UCO disposal.

This smart management system will increase the efficiency of the UCO collection and reduce the operational costs. Fewer collection trips mean less fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

A small-scale autonomous biodiesel production unit teststhe UCO transformation to a clean fuel, completing the UCO-to-biodiesel process. A feasibility study will further examine the specifications of the local biodiesel production from locally collected UCOfor the benefit of the local economy and environment. The InterMunicipal Waste Management Enterprise (DEDISA) engaged to support the pilot development and replicate the collection scheme to other Municipalities in Crete, by signing an MoU.

TUC and Rethymno, aiming to increase public awareness in UCO recycling benefits and to further promote the UCO collection rate,motivate a behavioural change among citizens, through targeted campaigns for residents, school communities and the HO.RE.CA.sector.