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Biodiesel NZ confident for home-grown industry

24 June 2008

Biodiesel New Zealand confident about prospects for home-grown industry

Raw material providers, farmers and customers of Biodiesel New Zealand have been contacting the renewable fuel producer asking about its prospects following yesterday’s introduction to Parliament of the Biofuel Bill.

The Solid Energy business has made an initial assessment of the amended Bill and is positive about New Zealand’s ability to produce cost-effective renewable transport fuel that is sustainable and food friendly.

In Biodiesel New Zealand’s case, it is producing high-quality biodiesel from used cooking oil and oilseed rape sown in rotation with other crops. This rotation also helps to produce better yields of grains and wheat for the food sector.

Paul Quinn, the General Manager of Biodiesel New Zealand, says that the company is proceeding with development of a plant near Christchurch which initially will produce at least 15 million litres a year.

“We will be operating by early 2009, in time to process oil from about 5,000 hectares of autumn-sown oilseed rape now in the ground around the South Island. That crop can be expected to result in more than 7 million litres of pure biodiesel that we can sell locally.”

The Canterbury plant has been designed to allow a further quadrupling of capacity and the business is continuing to build relationships with farmers interested in including oilseed rape within their farm production, with agreements for a substantial spring planting now being negotiated.

The Bill’s sustainability principles now specifically include rotational oilseed crops (grown for not more than 12 months in any 24-month period on the same land), which Biodiesel New Zealand will comply with to complement existing food crop production.

“New Zealand’s mild climate and the fact we have world-leading farming techniques means that the fuel from such crops can easily meet the sustainability standards,” says Mr Quinn. “It really is a win-win situation for the environment, the transport sector, our raw material suppliers and the emerging biodiesel industry.

“Plus there is the intention to examine the relative tax treatments of biodiesel and ethanol in 2010 and that the Bill includes options for levelling ethanol’s comparative advantage.”


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