Zero emission vehicles and alternative fuels

Do you need a permit or licence to produce biofuel?


If you want to produce biofuel for commercial or personal use, you may need a pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit or waste management licence. This will depend on how much biofuel you want to make and the method you use.

Check if you need a biofuel permit or licence

If you produce biodiesel or bioethanol by chemical means from waste or virgin vegetable oils you will require:

  • a PPC permit if you make more than 5,000 litres per year
  • a waste management licence if you make less than 5,000 litres per year

If you produce small amounts of biodiesel by physical means you may also require a waste management licence. You will need a waste management licence if you make more than 100 litres per batch for business or personal use.

Biofuels from anaerobic digestion of waste

If you produce biogas from the anaerobic digestion of waste you must also have a PPC permit or waste management licence.

Biofuels from animal by-products

If you produce biodiesel from waste edible fats and oils of animal origin that are not catering waste, you will also be subject to any relevant controls under animal by-product legislation.

For example, if you produce biodiesel using cooking oil from a food manufacturer or fat from animal by-products, your treatment operations will need approval from the Divisional Veterinary Office.

Check if your biofuel activities are low impact

If you produce biodiesel by chemical means and need a PPC permit, your activity may be considered to be low impact. If you meet the criteria set out in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) guidance you may be eligible for a low impact installation (LII) permit. The fees and charges you pay will be less to reflect the lower environmental impact.

For guidance on whether an installation can be classified as low impact, contact the NIEA Industrial Pollution and Radiochemical Inspectorate Helpline on Tel 028 9056 9299 or email

Follow rules to store waste cooking oil

You may need a waste management licence to store waste cooking oil. If you store more than 1,000 litres of waste cooking oil at any one time you will need a licence.

You must always store your used cooking oil within a suitable secondary containment system, for example a bund.

Follow rules for collecting waste vegetable oil

If you collect and transport waste vegetable oil, for example used cooking oil, for the production of biodiesel then you will need to be a registered waste carrier and follow your duty of care for waste.

Biofuels and REACH regulation

Manufacturers or importers of biofuels in Northern Ireland may need to register those substances when they are manufactured or imported in quantities of one tonne or more per year - find more guidance on REACH and biodiesel.