Biodiesel way of future

Originally published on Big Rigs, 28th October 2015 – Click here to view

South Australia-based Peats Soil has developed its own biodiesel manufacturing plant using dirty water it collects from food manufacturing locations.

The biodiesel will be used to fuel a new fleet of 13 Scania trucks it is purchasing for its statewide collection and delivery operations.

Peats Soil managing director Peter Wadewitz says he aims to manufacture more than one million litres of biodiesel in the first year at his McLaren Vale headquarters an hour south of Adelaide, which would provide the bulk of the 1.3m litres his fleet of trucks and loaders will consume annually.

“The first batch of 1000litres is now in production,” he said.

“We collect residual wash-down water from food preparation and manufacturing locations. We call it ‘dirty water’.

“From this we extract the fats we use as the base stock of the biodiesel.”

He said this biodiesel manufacturing concept was developed in association with Adelaide University and had attracted funding from the Australian Research Council.

Peter said the university first approached the company because they dealt with dirty water.

That dirty water has been going into compost for the 45years that Peter has been doing waste collection – now there’s a new use for it.

Peter hopes turning it into biodiesel will be “substantially cheaper” than purchasing fuel, but that will depend somewhat on the price of ethanol.

His biodiesel will be made up of 20% ethanol, so stage two of the project will be growing the sorghum and sugar needed to make ethanol and installing a plant to make it.

From there, Peter said stage four would be “containerising” the plant and exporting it around the world so more people could recycle their dirty water.

“We have now progressed from proving the concept in a laboratory to building a new biodiesel manufacturing facility at our headquarters in Willunga.

“So far as we know there is only one other plant like this in the world, in the United States,” he said.

While Peter will save a huge amount on fuel costs if this plan works, it’s not just about the money. He said there was massive wastage in the world and being able to turn something you would usually discard into something useful was the future.

“We hope to make one million litres of biodiesel a year, all of which will be consumed by our trucks and the nine loaders we use in the yard to load the trucks with our organic garden products.

“We have ordered 13 new trucks from Scania that will run on 100% biodiesel. These trucks will replace our existing Scania fleet, plus we are adding two more trucks and two more loaders. This means we will be creating four new jobs for drivers plus adding staff for the laboratory,” Peter said.

Alfons Reitsma, regional executive manager for Scania in South Australia, said the company was “delighted” Peter had decided to replace his fleet with new Scanias that run on 100% biodiesel.

“We will be supplying Peats Soil with 480hp six-cylinder trucks and some V8-powered 560hp prime movers, which will be used to collect waste matter and then deliver bulk and bagged organic supplies once they have been processed at the plant,” he said.

“Scania already produces some of the most fuel-efficient heavy trucks available in Australia, but the switch to biodiesel will make this one of the lowest CO2-emitting fleets in Australia.

“Scania promotes environmental sustainability, providing operators with a variety of low-emission solutions.

“Our research shows biodiesel produces 80% less CO2 than regular diesel, making it exceptionally environmentally friendly.”