Commercial-scale Z biodiesel production immiment

Commercial-scale Z biodiesel production immiment

New Zealand’s first commercial-scale biodiesel plant received its first delivery of inedible tallow, enabling the beginning of production.

Z Energy’s $26 million biodiesel plant at Wiri, Auckland, is now in the commissioning phase and will start to produce sustainable biodiesel later this month. 

At peak production, the new plant will produce 20 million litres of the product, which it is supplying as a biodiesel/mineral diesel blend to both commercial and retail customers across the upper half of the North Island.

Z’s General Manager of supply and distribution, David Binnie, says the delivery of tallow was a milestone.

“We’re ready to start producing a sustainable transport fuel for customers that want to do their bit for a lower carbon future when they fill up,” says Binnie.

“As an existing by-product of the meat industry, tallow is the perfect feedstock for bringing biodiesel to New Zealand,” he says.

“It doesn’t compete with food production, and would otherwise be exported as a low-value commodity for soap and candle manufacturing, and some overseas biofuel production,” says Binnie.

“The tallow and the design of the plant enable the production of a pure, high-quality biodiesel which is safe to use in an engine and meets all of New Zealand’s fuel specifications,” he says.

Binnie says the plant would use about 12% of New Zealand’s production of inedible tallow, allowing the scope to build further biodiesel plants if customers continued to demand it.

“We’ve been delighted by the backing from commercial customers such as Fonterra, Fulton Hogan, NZ Post, Downers and TIL who have provided the support to enable us to build this plant,” says Binnie.

“The production of 20 million litres of sustainable biodiesel presents an opportunity for other businesses to take similar leadership in taking small steps to lower their carbon footprint.

“Given the rural origin of the feedstock, there is an opportunity for the agricultural sector to close the cycle by also choosing to use our biodiesel,” says Binnie.

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