Just Biodiesel plant opening garners Scania praise

Move supports green fuel supply strategy; Hewson argues national benefits


Scania Australia has hailed the advent of Just Biodiesel operations at its Barnawatha plant, seeing it as a crucial piece in the alternative fuels supply puzzle.

The truck-maker has already chalked up memoranda of understanding with eastern-state alternative fuel producers including Wilmar Bioethanol Australia, Ecotech Biodiesel, and the NGV Group with a view to ensuring like-minded operators with compatible vehicles have sources of reliable supply.

For Scania Australia sustainability solutions manager Anthony King, who was present at the launch after the prospect of a large-scale supply of biodiesel now reaching the market is a validation of his firm’s strategy and support for its environmental championing of cleaner-burning fuels.

“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,” King says, having travelled from Melbourne to the plant just south of Albury in a compatible Scania bus along with an R620 V8 prime mover.

“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.

“Through their partnership with fuel logistics experts Refuelling Solutions, Just Biodiesel is able to ensure consistent supply to convenient locations for our customers.

“All that is now required is for Scania customers to determine that they will adopt biodiesel, either as a blend [B20] or in a pure B100 form, to run in their vehicles and reducing their carbon footprint by up to 83 per cent well-to-wheel.

“Demand for biodiesel is growing across several sectors of the Australia economy.

“Community and local government awareness is growing from coast-to-coast, particularly among municipal waste contractors.

“Biofuel production provides an environmental best practice benefit, local job creation and fuel security for Australia.

“We have seen European, and in particular Swedish operators, leading the world in adopting waste-to-fuel technology to produce biofuels, and we see great opportunities for a similar outcome in Australia.”

The truck-maker notes 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 minimal cost, during a short visit to a Scania workshop,” it says.

“Scania Australia also offers five engine applications from 320hp to 580hp [239kW-433kW] in the Euro 6 range that can operate on B100.”

Read about the Just Biodiesel plant opening event and plans, here

The opening of the plant, which has a capacity of up to 50 million litres of fuel per year, saw a confluence of criticism related to perceived ongoing policy shortfalls on fuel security, value added manufacturing and environmental mitigation.

Bioenergy Australia chair Dr John Hewson prosecuted these cases while stating biodiesel manufacturing in Australia had been “reborn”.

“Just Biodiesel is setting an example of what can be done,” Hewson says.

“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.

“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.

“Eighty 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.”

The Barnawartha plant has re-employed 11 of the original staff from the facility that closed in 2016 and is on track to add a further five jobs.

Newly-elected independent federal Member for Indi, Dr Helen Haines, who admits she is on a steep learning curve, gives her enthusiastic support, particularly given that local jobs in regional and rural Australia could be created by the emerging biofuels industry, which also offered environmental benefits.

“I am delighted there are around 16 jobs being created in Barnawartha, and that vehicles fuelled with this biodiesel will reduce emissions substantially, if we choose to use it,” Haines says.

“I am delighted that the fuel is being exported, but I would be more thrilled if I saw Australia embracing this more fully.”


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