New Zealand will soon get its first industrial-scale biodiesel plant. This article from Radio New Zealand says the Z Energy plant will produce the green fuel from animal fat and is expected to make about 5 million gallons of biodiesel per year when it opens in June.
While the planned 20 million litre production will be just a fraction of the company’s total diesel sales of 860 million litres, Z Energy views it as a start in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport.
Even getting this far was a problem, according to Z Energy chief executive Mike Bennetts.
He said the globally low prices for crude oil make it harder for biofuels to compete.
The cost imposed under the Emissions Trading Scheme for burning fossil fuels was also low, which discouraged the use of clean alternatives such as biofuel and this affected the economics of the plant.
“They are marginal, and (as a listed company) we’ve always been very honest about that,” Mr Bennetts said.
But Z was pressing on, aiming to add 5 percent biofuel to its conventional diesel by June, and signing up companies such as Fonterra to commit to its product.
“We’ve been well supported by Fonterra, Fulton Hogan, Downers and New Zealand Post, to pay us a small premium to actually take the product.
“And then we are looking for the rest of New Zealand to follow through on some of the statements they make to use around ‘why don’t you guys do something about a less carbon intensive future?'”
Company officials say they made the project a reality by cutting start-up costs to a minimum.