‘Gutter Oil’ Expected to Fuel Shanghai Buses

One of China’s ongoing food safety scandals involves the illegal recycling, repackaging, and reuse of cooking oil — which after crude processing is known as “gutter oil” (地沟油). In the midst of an ongoing food safety war that has recently seen crackdowns on “meat-related crimes” and “cadmium rice,” China Daily reports on initial moves in Shanghai towards processing used cooking oil into biodiesel to be used in powering public busses:

Processed gutter oil is expected to be used as bus fuel within two years in Shanghai, as part of efforts to advance a circular economy and prevent recycled cooking oil from returning to the kitchen.

The Shanghai Municipal Food Safety Committee will cooperate with Tongji University and six businesses that process used cooking oil into biodiesel that can power vehicles, said Yan Zuqiang, the committee’s director, in an interview with a local news portal on Saturday.

[…]”On the one hand, we emphasized cleaning up illegal oil collectors. On the other, we looked for ideal ways to use the recycled oil. Using it as auto fuel is one of them,” he said.

This is part of Shanghai’s attempts to innovate its public transportation system. Sun Jianping, director of the Shanghai Municipal Transport and Port Authority, said on Sunday that people will only opt for public transportation when they feel it is “more convenient” to take buses and subways. [Source]

In April, biofuel developed in part from recycled cooking oil powered the 85-minute flight of a China Eastern Airline jet. Also see Caixin coverage (via CDT) of the recent trial of a Shandong “gutter oil tycoon,” CDT’s Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon entry for “ditch oil,” and prior CDT coverage of food safety.


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