Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Broadening the horizon for biofuels

14 September 2006

Broadening the horizon for biofuels

New Zealand needs to explore novel sources for producing biofuels if they are to play a greater role in meeting our energy needs, according to researchers at the University of Auckland.

Professor Mohammed Farid, from the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, and PhD student Sam Behzadi, will present this view at an international Chemical Engineering Conference “CHEMECA2006” to be held in Auckland this weekend.

Professor Farid has been studying the conversion of tallow (animal fat) and vegetable fats into biodeisel for five years and has developed patented technology to process fats into fuel. This technology will lower the production cost of biodiesel in the future.

However, the reliance on conventional sources such as animal and vegetable fats is not sustainable long term. Professor Farid says alternative sources that are cheaper and more abundant need to be identified. At present New Zealand may only be able to meet 5 percent of its diesel needs through biodiesel, but much higher targets can be set if alternative raw materials are investigated.

Biofuels can be either biodiesel, made from fats, or bioethanol, made from cellulose found in plants. The government is considering raising the use of biofuels to 2.25 percent by 2012. Britain has set a target of 5 per cent by 2010.

“Vegetable and animal fats are valuable food resources. We should be broadening our horizons by shifting our thinking away from using these resources to more viable feedstocks, which can increase our fuel production capabilities and reduce our reliance on crude oil,” Mr Behzadi says.

“Now is the time to start identifying alternative feedstocks such as micro-organisms and crops that we can harvest in New Zealand for the specific purpose of converting into biodiesel. Then we can start considering targets of at least 5 percent, or even 10 or 20 percent.”

Oils derived from algae, flax or similar natural materials that can be produced easily in New Zealand have been identified by Mr Behzadi as possible alternatives.

“The cost of raw materials accounts for greater than 70 percent of the biodiesel production cost. For biodiesel to play an active role in our energy needs, it must be produced at a much lower price while still meeting international fuel standards.” Professor Farid says.

The 34th Annual Australasian Chemical Engineering conference will be held from 17 to 20 September at the Langham Hotel in Auckland. More than 175 Wworld experts on chemical and materials engineering will present their insights into industry, research and the profession.

A key note speaker will be David Penny from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, who will address a National Manufacturing Strategy for New Zealand being released later this year.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis Review: From Free Press to Fancy Dress - Spielberg's The Post

Stephen Spielberg's The Post is an opportune newsroom drama in which a corrupt Republican president wages war against the "liberal media," as its plucky proprietor risks economic and legal ruin to bring the Pentagon Papers to public light. Its true protagonist is publisher Katharine Graham, a stringently diplomatic businesswoman, reluctantly compelled to take an overtly political stance in the interests of democracy and freedom of the press. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Black Dog of Empire - Joe Wright's Darkest Hour'

On the eve of England's contorted efforts to negotiate its ignominious retreat from Europe and the chaotic spectacle of the Tory party ratifying its undignified departure from a union originally designed to prevent another World War, there has been a renewed appetite for movies about 1940. More>>

Howard Davis Review: Anger Begets Anger - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

For fans of what Ricky Gervais termed "number movies" (Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven, Ocean's 11, Se7en), Martin McDonagh's latest offering will be a welcome addition to the roster. The Irish playwright turned screenwriter and director has produced another quirky and darkly comic tragedy that evolves around the futility of anger and grief, retribution and revenge. More>>

Howard Davis: Sexting in George Dawe's Genevieve - Part I

Te Papa's permanent collection includes an enormous oil painting by the English artist George Dawe called Genevieve (from by a poem by S.T. Coleridge entitled 'Love') that was prominently featured in the 2013 exhibition Angels & Aristocrats. Compare the massive immensity of the bard's gorgeously gilded harp with the stubby metallic handle of the Dark Knight's falchion, both suggestively positioned at crotch-level. Dawe's enormous canvas invokes a whole history of blushing that pivots around a direct connection to sexual arousal. More>>


Ethnomusicology: Malian ‘Desert Blues’ Revolutionaries To Storm WOMAD

Malian band Tinariwen (playing WOMAD NZ in March 2018) are a true musical revolutionaries in every sense. Active since 1982, these nomadic Tuareg or ‘Kel Tamashek’ (speakers of Tamashek) electric guitar legends revolutionised a traditional style to give birth to a new genre often called ‘desert blues’. They also have a history rooted deeply in revolution and fighting for the rights of their nomadic Tamashek speaking culture and people. More>>

Gordon Campbell: Best New Music Of 2017

Any ‘best of list’ has to be an exercise in wishful thinking, given the splintering of everyone’s listening habits... But maybe… it could be time for the re-discovery of the lost art of listening to an entire album, all the way through. Just putting that idea out there. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland