Production imminent at NZ’s first commercial scale biodiesel plant

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

Z Energy’s $26 million biodiesel plant at Wiri, Auckland, is now in the commissioning phase and will start to produce high quality, sustainable biodiesel later this month. At the plant’s peak of production it will produce 20 million litres of biodiesel, which will be supplied as a biodiesel / mineral diesel blend to both commercial and retail customers across much of the upper half of the North Island.

Z’s General Manager of Supply and Distribution, David Binnie, said the delivery of tallow was a milestone which has been years in the making.

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

“As an existing by-product of the meat industry, tallow is the perfect feedstock for bringing biodiesel to New Zealand. It doesn’t compete with food production and would otherwise be exported as a low value commodity in the production of soap and candles and some overseas biofuel production.

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

David said the plant will use about 12 per cent of New Zealand’s production of inedible tallow, meaning there was plenty of scope to build further biodiesel plants if customers continued to demand it.
“We’ve been delighted by the leadership and strong backing from foundation commercial customers like Fonterra, Fulton Hogan, NZ Post, Downers and TIL who have provided the support to enable us to build this plant with confidence.

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

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

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