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Biodiesel plant set to open in VIC

Commercial vehicle manufacturer, Scania, has announced that its customers across Australia will soon be able to run their trucks on B100 biodiesel produced at a recommissioned manufacturing plant in Barnawartha, Victoria.

According to Scania, the plant, owned and operated by Just Biodiesel, will produce up to 50 million litres of fuel per year from locally sourced animal fats and vegetable oil feedstocks. The fuel will be available in either pure B100 biodiesel or as a B20 (20 per cent biodiesel) blend.

Scania stated that that all its Euro 5 trucks can operate on B100 if specified for it at the factory. Those not factory-specified for B100 can be converted at minimal cost, during a short visit to a Scania workshop.

Scania Australia also offers five engine applications from 320hp to 580hp in its Euro 6 range that can operate on B100.

The company claims one of the key biodiesel benefits is an up to 83 per cent reduction in carbon emissions well-to-wheel (in the case of B100), as well as the advantage that locally-produced biodiesel delivers in terms of boosting national fuel security.

At Just Biodiesel’s plant in Barnawartha, the base feedstock is tallow derived from animal rendering, some of which is produced by a third-party supplier located within the boundaries of the biodiesel plant. Used cooking oil collected from restaurants around Australia can also be used in the fuel’s manufacture.

The Just Biodiesel plant is expected to begin exporting renewable fuel in August to California and European Union customers – markets with high demand for this fuel.

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,” said Hewson. “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.”

Hewson said that the government has no fuel security strategy.

“We have 21 days of fuel reserves and we have the distinction of having the dirtiest petrol in the OECD,” he said.

“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.

“Around 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,” he said, adding that the lack of a national waste management strategy is also concerning.

“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.”

The Barnawartha plant operated by Just Biodiesel has re-employed 11 of the original staff from the facility which was closed in 2016, and is on track to add a further five jobs.

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