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Renewable diesel fuel trial underway

Renewable diesel fuel

An Australian-first trial using 100 per cent renewable diesel to fuel a Scania test engine is up and running.

Southern Oil’s Advanced Biofuels Pilot Plant at Yarwun, near Gladstone, is pioneering the refining of renewable diesel fuel made from waste plastic, old vehicle tyres, agriculture and forestry waste, and biosolids under the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland Industry Attraction Fund.

The high-end Scania V8 test engine is being used in its power generation configuration for the testing, allowing assessment of exhaust emissions, performance and response, fuel efficiency, cost and engine lifetime.

Southern Oil Refinery celebrated the trial as a first step toward proving renewable diesel refined in Queensland from waste products can be “chemically indistinguishable from petroleum-based diesel”.

“The demonstration shows there’s a huge opportunity to produce 100 per cent renewable diesel fuel in Queensland from waste,” SynBio managing director Tim Rose said in a public statement. “We could also see a reduction in industry’s reliance on fossil fuels.”

Scania Australia is proud to be a global leader in the shift towards a sustainable transport future.

“We have developed our heavy-duty commercial vehicle, marine and industrial engines to be able to run on a variety of renewable or alternative fuels with no loss of performance or economy, while also reducing our emissions impact,” Scania national manager (engines) Andre Arm said the company said. “Scania is delighted to be a partner in the proving of this concept.”

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said renewable diesel is a much greener alternative to mineral diesel.

“Over the next 12-to-18 months, Southern Oil will be trialling renewable diesel in the test engine to show it performs identically to petroleum-based diesel in terms of performance and wear-and-tear on the engine,” she said.

“Southern Oil is also aiming to build a commercial-scale renewable fuel refinery within five years, which would create significant job opportunities and improve domestic fuel security for our state … warranty by an original equipment manufacturer like Scania is also crucial to commercialisation and uptake of the fuel, as it must have the identical performance and characteristics of fossil fuel.”

Within six months SynBio plans to hire at least 11 staff directly and 25 indirectly.