Major road freight organisations have joined a consortium of leading cross-sector concerns in an appeal to the Australian Government for support in enabling an on-shore renewable diesel refining industry.
In an open letter to the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen, Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia and Team Global Express, among 12 others, point to the key role of renewable diesel in decarbonising a range of “hard-to-abate” sectors.
While readily available overseas, the advanced biofuel made from animal fats, vegetable oils, including used cooking oil, and agricultural waste, it is not commercially available in Australia, according to the signatories.
“Renewable diesel is a critical transition fuel while other technologies, such as electrification and renewable hydrogen, gather pace,” the letter says.
“Access to domestically produced renewable diesel represents a significant and immediate decarbonisation opportunity across multiple sectors, including road transport, construction, maritime, mining, rail, agriculture and forestry.
“These sectors are the bedrock of the local economy and decarbonising these industries is critical to achieving the Australian Government’s emissions reduction target of 43 per cent by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.”
The consortium also points out that the sectors represent 29 per cent of Australia’s economic output and consumed 27.5 billion litres of diesel in 2019/20, but alternative fuels are not readily available.
“With the right policy settings, renewable diesel provides a viable and cost-effective decarbonisation option for hard to abate sectors,” the letter continues.
“Renewable diesel enables equipment and machinery to live out its working life while we wait for zero emission technology to replace or where other options ultimately do not materialise.
“These sectors are the bedrock of the local economy and decarbonising these industries is critical to achieving the Australian Government’s emissions reduction target of 43 per cent by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.
“A domestic renewable diesel industry will provide significant regional employment in areas with abundant feedstocks. Additionally, it will diversify incomes and foster economic growth from domestic feedstocks and improve regional community resilience, as well as increasing Australia’s fuel security.”
The biofuel is chemically identical to conventional diesel, can be used as a 100 per cent ‘drop-in’ fuel without machinery needing any modifications, and use is widely supported by Original Equipment Manufacturers.
Volvo, for one, is on the front foot in promoting the uptake of this environmentally-friendly fuel.
Earlier this year it announced that the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) had ordered a Volvo FMX 6×4 prime mover with the latest 13-litre Euro 6 technology.
This vehicle will operate alongside its fully electric model to assess the performance and emissions benefits of running on fossil-fuel-free Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) against diesel.
Extracted in full from: Consortium calls for establishment of a local renewable diesel industry (bigrigs.com.au)