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50% CO2 reduction from home-grown biodiesel

4 April 2008

Study confirms 50% CO2 reduction from use of home-grown biodiesel

High-quality biodiesel from oilseed rape, grown and produced in the South Island by Biodiesel New Zealand, is sustainable, emitting around 50% less carbon dioxide over its life cycle than mineral diesel. This exceeds the 35% criteria proposed by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

That’s the conclusion of an independent life cycle assessment carried out for the company of greenhouse gas emissions and primary energy for the production of biodiesel from oilseed rape, from the cultivation of the rapeseed, through to oil extraction and the refining and processing of the biodiesel.

Biodiesel New Zealand General Manager, Paul Quinn, says that the company shares concerns expressed yesterday by Dr Jan Wright, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee about the sustainability of biofuels and their true environmental and economic impacts.

“However, as we discussed with the Select Committee last month, biodiesel made from oilseed rape will contribute positively to greenhouse gas reduction targets and can be grown in such as way that it does not displace food production. In fact, oilseed rape has benefits for agriculture as a break crop for cereals, improving cereal yields in following years. The oil extraction process also creates a high-value stock feed which replaces imported material such palm oil husk,” Mr Quinn says.

“We completely understand the issues raised by the PCE and others about the sustainability of biodiesel, which is why we commissioned this independent life cycle analysis of biodiesel, based on New Zealand conditions, as we didn’t believe that studies carried out in other countries would necessarily be applicable here.

“The conclusion of our study is good news for the local industry and confirms that oilseed rape will make a sustainable contribution to our national response to climate change and that it is 55% more energy-efficient than mineral diesel. As a result biodiesel will enhance New Zealand’s energy security through onshore fuel production.

“Biodiesel New Zealand supports the development of a strong and sustainable New Zealand biofuels industry which generates a range of sustainable feedstocks. We can learn from the rest of the world, but we need to learn from the international experience of many years and refine those techniques to ensure that our industry is sustainable and will contribute to the reduction of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Quinn concludes.

Biodiesel New Zealand, a subsidiary of Solid Energy New Zealand Ltd, currently produces biodiesel from used cooking oil and will next year expand production to use oilseed rape as a feedstock. The company currently has 6,000 hectares of oilseed rape planted from which the company expects to produce more than 10 million litres of pure biodiesel after the 2009 harvest. Biodiesel New Zealand plans to produce 70 million litres a year of sustainable transport fuel, made from oilseed rape and used cooking oil, within the next three years. The company will open a new production facility at an industrial site in Christchurch next year.


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