New Zealand's first commercial biodiesel plant prepares to open

By Ron Kotrba | August 02, 2016

Z Energy, a $26 million biodiesel processing facility in New Zealand, has begun the commissioning phase at its 5.3 MMgy plant in Wiri, Auckland. On Aug. 2, the company received its first feedstock delivery, and plant officials say commercial production of biodiesel from inedible tallow is expected by the end of August.

“This is a pretty big milestone for us here at Z as well as for New Zealand,” said Sheena Thomas, senior communications advisor for Z Energy, “as it marks the imminent start of production at New Zealand’s first commercial-scale biofuels plant.”

David Binnie, Z Energy’s general manager of supply and distribution, said the first tallow delivery has been years in the making. “As an existing byproduct of the meat industry, tallow is the perfect feedstock for bringing biodiesel to New Zealand,” Binnie said. “It doesn’t compete with food production and would otherwise be exported as a low-value commodity in the production of soap and candles and some overseas biofuel production.”

Binnie said Z Energy will use about 12 percent of New Zealand’s production of inedible tallow.

“We’ve been delighted by the leadership and strong backing from foundation commercial customers like Fonterra, Fulton Hogan, NZ Post, Downers and TIL who have provided the support to enable us to build this plant with confidence,” Binnie said. “The production of 20 million liters of sustainable biodiesel provides an opportunity for other businesses to take similar leadership in taking small steps to lower their own carbon footprint. Given the rural origin of the feedstock, there is an opportunity for the rural sector to close the cycle by also choosing to use our biodiesel.”     


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