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Z Energy commercial biodiesel plant set for testing

Z Energy, a New Zealand energy producer has moved towards completing New Zealand’s first commercial scale biodiesel plant in Wiri, Auckland, with the installation of a biodiesel distillation column.

The plant, which will move into the testing phase early next year, will turn inedible tallow, a by-product of the New Zealand meat industry, into 20 million litres of biodiesel a year, with the potential to scale production up to 40 million litres a year.

Z’s general manager of supply and distribution, David Binnie, says the biodiesel distillation column is a sophisticated piece of kit which 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,’ says Binnie.

According to Binnie, fuel burned for transportation makes up around 17% of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions.

‘It will take time, but this $26 million (€19.4 million) investment is a step towards reducing New Zealand’s reliance on fossil fuels,’ Binnie says.

He praises the commitment of Z Energy’s commercial customers, such as Fonterra, who are trying to find ways to reduce their own carbon emissions.

Fonterra’s general manager of national transport and logistics, Barry McColl, says the company is committed to reducing environmental impacts across all of its 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,’ McColl says.

Z’s B5 drop-in biodiesel blend (up to five% biodiesel blended with ordinary diesel) works across commercial, industrial, and retail diesel vehicle fleets.

The biodiesel will be available to customers in the Auckland, Bay of Plenty, and Waikato regions towards the middle of 2016.

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