Innovative: Greg Jenkyns, of Shadforths, with the new biodiesel fuel that is being used to run the company's vehicles.
Innovative: Greg Jenkyns, of Shadforths, with the new biodiesel fuel that is being used to run the company's vehicles. Warren Lynam

How soy may cut emissions

A SUNSHINE Coast civil contractor is trialling biodiesel in the hopes of one day saving the equivalent of 1800 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.

Shadforths Civil Engineering Contractors has begun using a soy-based biodiesel at the site of the Sunshine Coast Council’s new Nambour landfill.

Trials began in June on the site’s 20 heavy vehicles and will continue for another three months.

If successful, the fuel, known as B20, could be extended to the company’s fleet of 300 heavy vehicles across the state.

Estimations reveal the drop in carbon emissions would be equivalent to removing 400 cars from the road.

Shadforths fleet and environmental manager Greg Jenkyns said it was about doing the company’s bit for the planet.

“We’re trying to do our bit by reducing our carbon footprint for the company and improving sustainability of the environment,” Mr Jenkyns said.

“We wanted to get some first-hand experience ourself before and if we roll it out to other sites.

“We hope other businesses take up the same idea and start using it. I know a few fuel distributors on the Coast that will supply.”

B20 is 20% biodiesel and 80% mineral diesel.

No modifications are required to the vehicle engines.

The Nambour site was selected as it is close to Shadforths’ workshops.

It took six months to organise supplies and fuel distributors to ensure the availability of the product.

No problems have been experienced so far, besides having to replace the fuel filters more frequently for the first month.

Vehicles at the Nambour site used an estimated 2000 to 3000 litres of diesel a day.

It was estimated 3 to 4 million litres of diesel are used through the fleet’s 300 vehicles every year.

“B20 is becoming more easily available. That has been the main issue up until now,” Mr Jenkyns said.

He said it was one of the bigger green initiatives the business had undertaken.

“We’re looking at introducing solar power for our workshops too,” he said.

What is Biodiesel?

Biodiesel is clean burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources. It contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. It is produced from any fat or oil such as soybean oil, through a refinery process called transesterification. This process is a reaction of the oil with an alcohol to remove the glycerin, which is a by-product of biodiesel production.