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Biofuel record-holder visits southern ports

22 April 2009

Biofuel-powered around-the-world record-holder visiting southern ports

Biodiesel New Zealand is supplying fuel for the southern leg of port calls by Earthrace, the biodiesel powerboat which made a record-setting global circumnavigation in 2008.

Earthrace skipper, Pete Bethune, and his crew will host open days for the public to view the vessel and speak about the record-setting voyage in Kaikoura (22-23 April), Lyttelton (24 April), Akaroa (25-26 April), Timaru (28-29 April), Oamaru (30 April), Dunedin (1-3 May), Stewart Island’s Halfmoon Bay (5-6 May), Riverton (7-8 May), Bluff (9-10 May), Milford Sound (16-17 May), Greymouth (18-19 May) and Westport (20 May).

Alongside his ambition to set an around-the-world benchmark, Mr Bethune and the Earthrace team have advocated for more renewable fuel options in the world energy mix. Solid Energy, the energy company which owns Biodiesel New Zealand, is developing some of the promising energy solutions that will help to power New Zealand’s future. Alongside biodiesel made from used cooking oil and locally-grown rapeseed oil, these include wood pellets for commercial and household use, solar water heating and new, cleaner ways of using coal.

Biodiesel New Zealand is now producing more than a million litres of biodiesel a year, primarily from recycled cooking oil. The firm recently completed its first commercial-scale harvest of rapeseed grown for it by South Island farmers and that oil will soon make up an increasing proportion of the feedstock.

The business is completing the first stage of a new facility at Rolleston, near Christchurch, enabling the drying, cleaning and storage of up to 10,000 tonnes of rapeseed. In February it announced that, with the steep fall in the price of transport fuel, the company had decided to expand production capacity at its existing plant in Christchurch from 1 to 4 million litres and would take more time to consider the timing and size of the future biodiesel production facility.

Biodiesel New Zealand’s latest customer, the newly launched inshore fishing trawler Nessie J, will also be in port when Earthrace visits Lyttelton on Friday (24 April). Built by Stark Bros to run on a 60/40 biodiesel/mineral diesel mix, the 13.3 metre Nessie J was launched on 20 March. It is the third Stark Bros vessel commissioned to operate with Biodiesel New Zealand’s quality fuel.


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