After a hiatus for the past few years, it may the time to ask whether biodiesel is back? This is after the news was released that Just Biodiesel has recommissioned its biodiesel manufacturing plant in Barnawartha, Victoria.
The plant has the capacity to produce up to 50 million litres of fuel per year, made from locally sourced animal waste and waste vegetable oil feedstocks. The fuel produced is either pure B100 biodiesel or made as a B20 blend.
After an initial burst of growth in the early 2000s, when biodiesel was spurred on by the growing fears around carbon fuels and global warning, the interest faded away as it became clear Australia was unlikely to actually initiate any form of carbon controlling taxation.
Meanwhile, in Europe the use of biodiesel has grown considerably over the past twenty years as the carbon trading schemes in place there make the carbon neutral fuel more attractive to trucking operators.
As a result of the interest in Europe, the European truck brands have biodiesel capability built into their designs. All Scania Euro 5 trucks can operate on B100 if specified for it at the factory. Those not factory-specified for B100 can be converted at a relatively low cost, by visiting a Scania workshop. Scania Australia also offers five engine applications from 320 hp to 580 hp in the Euro 6 range that can operate on B100.
Speaking at the launch of the plant, Dr John Hewson, Chairman of Bioenergy Australia said biodiesel manufacturing in Australia had been reborn. He also said that producing biodiesel locally can play an important role in shoring up Australia’s fuel security.
“Just Biodiesel is setting an example of what can be done. The business community is moving ahead so we can make the transition to a low carbon society by the middle of this century, which is an imperative,” said Hewson. “The government has no fuel security strategy. We have 21 days of fuel and we have the distinction of having the dirtiest petrol in the OECD. This is a sad situation, we are very exposed, so it is not surprising that others have decided we have to get on and create fuel from alternative sources.
“80 per cent of the soya bean that we export to Europe is converted to biofuels. We don’t do any value-adding in that industry in this country at all. These are very significant challenges where the risk of not having a secure fuel policy is a major disadvantage to this country. We are very exposed. We don’t have a national waste management strategy. Feedstocks for biofuels and alternative fuels are spread right across this country so there is enormous potential for development in regional Australia for investment and jobs using existing technologies to convert waste into fuels.”
Scania Australia’s Sustainability Solutions Manager Anthony King was present at the launch and was excited by the prospect of a large-scale supply of biodiesel now reaching the market.
“Scania has recently signed an MOU with Just Biodiesel for the supply of a fuel that is of a high standard and suitable for use by Scania vehicles,” said King. “With partnerships such as this, we are driving the shift towards sustainable transport solutions in Australia and making it happen now!”
“Just Biodiesel is providing an approved standard (EN14214) fuel that gives our truck and bus customers consistent, reliable and guaranteed supply for their biodiesel-ready vehicles, so that when they specify a Scania for B100 use, or simply use as a B20 blend, they can be sure there will be supply when they need it.
“The Barnawartha plant is setting a new benchmark for biodiesel in Australia. No one else produces biodiesel on this scale here, and they have opportunities to increase their production with further facilities available to bring on line as demand grows around the country.”