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Lendlease to fuel UK projects with vegetable oil

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Dive Brief:

  • Australia-based contractor Lendlease will eliminate all use of liquid fossil fuels on its U.K. construction sites, the company announced
  • Under its new “Alternative Fuels Policy,” diesel, petrol and gas to liquid, often used to power machinery onsite, as well as fuel gases like liquid petroleum gas used for heating, will be replaced by alternative fuels.
  • The policy goes into effect immediately for new projects, and existing projects have until Jan. 1, 2022 to comply.

Dive Insight:

After two successful pilots at the Glen Parva prison and Manchester Town Hall projects, Lendlease has announced it will forgo diesel entirely. 

Eliminating diesel from Lendlease’s construction business is a key milestone to the company’s goal of absolute zero carbon, the announcement said. Currently, the contractor uses about 400,000 liters (106,000 gallons) of diesel a year in the U.K. Removing the fuel entirely could cut carbon emissions by 1,000 metric tons (1,102 tons). 

“Removing diesel and other liquid fossil fuels on our UK construction projects is a big step in the right direction for us at Lendlease,” said Simon Gorski, Lendlease Europe’s managing director of construction, in the company statement. “Our end goal is to eliminate fossil fuels entirely, so mandating that all projects transition to alternative, low carbon solutions like HVO is going to help us get there.”

Based on goals laid out at the end of 2020, Lendlease is aiming for net zero carbon — or no emissions created by fuels burned or power consumed by the contractor — by 2025, and absolute zero carbon  or no emissions created indirectly by the contractor  by 2040. 

On its U.K. projects, Lendlease will only accept hydrotreated vegetable oil derived from used cooking oils. HVO is an alternative to diesel that reduces carbon dioxide emissions by up to 90% and can be used as a “drop in” replacement, meaning it can power existing machinery without making engine modifications.

Despite being referred to as a vegetable oil, HVO is not something found in a pantry. The second generation biofuel is generated mainly from cooking oil collected from food production.

“It won’t be a small task, and it’ll take collaboration across the entire value chain to achieve,” Gorski said. “But we are committed to working with our clients, subcontractors, and suppliers to get there and tackle climate change, together.”

Lendlease isn’t the first to turn to sustainable fuel sources. In April, Skanska U.K. announced it would be using HVO for heavy machinery on all projects within the country.

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