South Australian company powers commercial fleet with home-made biodiesel

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An organic garden and farm products manufacturer is taking its green message a step further by creating its own biodiesel to run its fleet of trucks.

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The Lead

peats soil

An organic garden and farm products manufacturer is taking its green message a step further by creating its own biodiesel to run its fleet of trucks.

Peats Soil, which makes potting mixes, soils and mulches in South Australia, is creating biodiesel from the ‘dirty water’ gathered from food manufacturing locations.

The eco biodiesel will fuel a fleet of 14 new Scania trucks that will be used for Peats’ collection and delivery operations throughout South Australia.

Managing Director Peter Wadewitz said that the project involves collecting residual water and then extracting the fats from that water. Enzymes are then added to break down the fats, followed by 20 percent ethanol to assist in the completion of the process.

“We plan to produce a million litres of bio fuel in a year,” says Wadewitz. “With additional investment we can make it a continuous project.”

Peats Soil has always been ahead of the game in manufacturing products from recycled organic materials.

“We want to feed the soil using micro-biology,” says Wadewitz. “People often put chemicals into the soil and don’t think about the consequences. It’s important to build up the health and strength of the soil to ensure sustainability.”

Wadewitz says that the production of 1 million litres of bio-fuel should stop approximately 3000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year.

The first stage of the project is expected to cost $700 000, and will increase to $1 million in the later stages but Wadewitz expects the recoup the investment through reduced energy costs.

“It is very important to be commercially sustainable,” Wadewitz said. “There’s no point in being environmentally sustainable if you’re going to go broke.”

The biodiesel production facility was established in partnership with the University of Adelaide.

The university approached Wadewitz with the idea and provided laboratories to research and develop the manufacturing concept.

This first stage of research and development was funded from the Australian Research Council but Wadewitz says that he is paying to produce the bio fuel at the Peats Soil’s Operations Depot at Brinkley, South Australia.

Wadewitz said the company will soon build large anaerobic digestion pods to extract methane from food scraps to feed a turbine to create up to 30,000 tonnes of ‘green organic’ power.

Wadewitz said the company plans to expand their renewable energy projects in to India and China.

Source: The Lead. Reproduced with permission.

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11 Comments
  1. Beat Odermatt 3 years ago

    Great, innovation and action are necessary for the environment and NOT taxes.

    • Ian 3 years ago

      Disincentives to pollute were a good thing. Charging to dispose of dangerous waste is entirely reasonable. Which is why we don’t complain about council rates for waste services.

      Revenue generated by that method could support the establishment of numerous more similar schemes to the above mentioned one.

    • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

      Why are you against taxes ?

      But I agree innovation and action are great.

      • Beat Odermatt 3 years ago

        Because taxes are a highly ineffective way to advance technology. We can achieve more by good legislations. We achieved globally the removal of ozone destroying substances without taxes. Good laws yes, more taxes no.

        • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

          What would such legislation involve?

          • Beat Odermatt 3 years ago

            Good legislations work towards a goal. We can legislate for example that all electricity providers increase renewable energy in their supply packet by 2.5 % a year. Meeting fair and reasonable environmental targets would allow companies to find the best way to do so. We have to make sure that we only punish bad behaviour and not good behaviour. Taxes punish all and reward the wrong ones as it happened during the Rudd Carbon tax scam.

          • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

            Fair enough view but I think there is case for both regulation and taxes on those who pollute. Carrot and stick.

          • Beat Odermatt 3 years ago

            A pollution tax is often understand by companies simple as a permit to pollute. EPA has caused a slow down of environmental improvements by providing “security” to polluters. The Government seems to be happy to take the money, the polluter is happy to pay and pollute.

          • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

            If that is the case why was there so much opposition from Fossil fuel generators to the carbon tax and why did production and emissions from brown coal generators increase after the carbon tax repeal?

            I might add your view is quite contrary to most experts but I acknowledge that does not make them correct.

          • Beat Odermatt 3 years ago

            It was because we had no legislations to force them to look for renewable energy. The carbon tax was used mainly for “social justice” experiments and to compensate polluters. Fossil fuel generators just became more selective about the timing to produce power. We need laws to force everyone to use a little bit more renewable energy every year.
            In a society we have target and ways to achieve these targets. In regards to road safety the only acceptable target is 0 road death. In regards to the environment it must be 100% renewable energy. We legislate to reduce road death and we punish offenders. We must do the same with the environment.
            I have worked in the energy sector as an Environmental Scientist for over 35 years and I have a decent idea how companies deal with issues such as taxes.

          • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

            Thanks for the explanation, Beat.
            I am totally with you on the goal of increasing renewable energy and I respect your background in the field of environmental science.

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