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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 January 2007, 08:16 GMT
Power station drops palm oil idea
Palm oil fruit in a truck (Photo: Nick Lyon)
Many palm oil plantations are grown on areas of cleared rainforest
An energy company has abandoned plans to use imported palm oil to run a power station in north Kent.

RWE npower said its biofuel testing at Littlebrook Power Station, in Dartford, had been technically successful.

But converting from heavy fuel oil to palm oil would not work financially without an adverse impact in south-east Asia, where it would be sourced from.

RWE npower said it had no other plans for biofuel use, and Littlebrook would continue its present operations.

It provides power for about one million homes.

'Adverse impact'

Kelly Brown, spokeswoman for RWE npower, said: "You have to balance out the reduction in carbon dioxide which biofuels can bring, against any adverse environmental impact on the indigenous population of where you're buying that substance from.

"We'll carry on looking at our research and development to see if there are any other fuels that potentially could work for the power station."

The company said palm oil mainly came from plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia.

But it had to ensure that importing large quantities would not lead to deforestation, population displacement or rising carbon emissions at source.


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