If you’re puzzling what meat and biodiesel have to do with each other, think ‘tallow’. Inedible supplies of the stuff are about to be used by a New Zealand petrol company via a new biodiesel distillation column in Auckland.
Z, which is leading the way in reducing New Zealand’s reliance on fossil fuel, will turn the by-product left by the New Zealand meat industry into 20 million litres of biodiesel yearly…and expects to double that quantity in the future.
Its Wiri plant, the first commercial plant in the country if not the world, will move into the testing phase this year, and Z’s general manager of supply and distribution David Binnie says the column is a sophisticated piece of kit that will ensure a highly refined, pure finished biodiesel.
“The ability to refine the biodiesel by distillation enables us to use a plentiful local resource to produce high quality biodiesel that exceeds New Zealand’ s biodiesel specifications,” Binnie says.
As a New Zealand company, Z believes it has a backyard worth looking after, he says. Fuel burned for transportation makes up around 17% of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“This means Z is currently part of the climate change problem, and we’re not comfortable with that. We want to instead be at the heart of the solution,” Binnie says. “It will take time, but this $26 million investment is a step towards reducing New Zealand’s reliance on fossil fuels.”
Z invested in the plant, even in the absence of a government initiative, because it is the right thing to do, he says. Many of the large commercial customers have been increasingly asking for lower carbon options, and Binnie says Z believes the plant to be a world-first because the company cannot find evidence of any similar projects around the world where a commercial scale biofuels plant has been built without grants or any other government incentive such as a mandate or tax incentives.
“What has enabled us to be bold enough to invest in this venture has been the commitment from some of our large commercial customers – such as Fonterra – which is trying to find ways to reduce its own carbon emissions.
Fonterra spokesman Barry McColl says the co-operative is pleased to help Z with the project and is committed to reducing environmental impacts across all operations.
“Fonterra is committed to reducing environmental impacts across all of our operations. Transporting more than 18 billion litres of milk around the country every year requires a lot of hours on the road – our fleet travels more than 90 million kilometres over the year – so we’re hugely supportive of initiatives like this that help to reduce our emissions.”
Z’s B5 biodiesel blend works across commercial, industrial and retail diesel vehicle fleets, and will be available to customers in Auckland, the Bay of Plenty and Waikato regions towards the middle of 2016.
“Z’s B5 biodiesel is a ‘drop in’ fuel that doesn’t require customers to do anything differently with their diesel vehicles because it meets the same strict fuel specifications as ordinary diesel,” Binnie says.