Biodiesel made from tyres could solve fuel security and waste issues
- 24 July 2019
A Queensland oil refinery believes they’ve found a solution for Australia’s tyre waste and fuel scarcity issues that will benefit us all.
The plant, run by Southern Oil Refineries in Gladstone, has produced significant quantities of biodiesel. Southern Refineries general manager Ben Tabulo said the company had conducted large scale trials on its biodiesel which proved successful.
“[We’ve proven] renewable diesel can work in Australia’s engines and does have the same efficiency on the road,” he said in a recent interview with the ABC.
“It’s been refined from post-consumer waste, mainly mixed tyre crude oil and refined into 100% drop-in diesel. Our laboratory has shown this diesel is indistinguishable from fossil diesel and will give all the performance you’d expect from fossil diesel.”
One passenger car tyre can produce two litres of biodiesel and the base oil product can also be refined into aviation-spec kerosene, as well as engine and gearbox lubricants.
Vehicle tyre waste is a massive problem in Australia. Every year, Aussie’s are discarding around 25 million end-of-life tyres and a large portion of those are being illegally dumped, exported or stockpiled. When you think that each discarded tyre potentially contains five kilograms of steel, five kilograms of textiles and seven kilograms of rubber, you can see what a large-scale problem this is.
Tyre dumps generally appear simply because they aren’t that easy to get rid of. End-of-life tyres (or ELTs) are a major concern for governments as they are designed to be resilient and its reluctance to break down causes air, water and ground pollution. Only 23% of tyres are recycled every year but that this figure also includes exporting tyres to burn in brick and cement kilns overseas, which is a practice that only increases pollution.
Southern Oil Refineries plan to ramp up their production throughout 2019 to a place where they can produce between 10 and 20 million litres of biodiesel.
They’re not the only ones entering this exciting space. Green Distillation Technologies are also demonstrating how they can convert ELTs into fresh supplies of oil, carbon and steel. They use a process called destructive distillation, which the company says is emission free and powered by recycled oils as the heat source.
Whatever the method, we can’t wait to see what the future brings for the Australian diesel industry. As Bulk Fuel Australia continues their mission of delivering diesel fuel to any part of the country, we look forward to helping businesses operate in any environment. Talk to the team at BFA today to see how we can keep you moving.
Photo: ABC News - Damian McIntyre