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By smokey2 - 30 August 2006 32

When is someone in the ACT going to start selling biodiesel.

I can get it at VP on the Hume at Holbrook and in Sydney.

I would like to be enviromentally friendly, use renewable fuels with less pollution.

I don’t even mind the 5% less milage which I get burning Canola and would be happy to drive a few extra kms to get it.

How come the ACT is so slow to adopt enviromentally friendly fuels?

Is it just following our federal government counterparts that suck up to the large oil companies?

Gelling in winter is less likely with Canola rather than animal Fat based biodiesel.

100% ie B100 biodiesel can be a problem so it is usually mixed with dino fuel the proportion depending on the temperature to meet Aust standards.

I have not had any problem with gelling even going up to Falls creek last week after a fill at Holbrook although I topped up with winter diesel at Mount Beauty.

The fuel at Holbrook is processed at Moama and is available at several VP outlets in Southern NSW.

Alot of misinformation is generated by the large fuel companies to protect their market.

What’s Your opinion?

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edison 11:43 pm 17 Dec 06

For cold temperatures you add a bit of petrol to the diesel, this is called ‘winter diesel’ and is sold at the pump that way in europe, it’s for places that are like 30 below zero centigrade and the like, the claim ‘south of wollongong’ is just ‘shut up and go away’ in PR speak.

BIODIESEL IS BETTER THAN Fossil diesel for the enviroment because it emits carbon that was taken from the atmosphere in the firstplace while the veges grew, rather than releasing new-to-the-enviroment carbon from underground, which tips the balance in favour of new climatic systems we can’t live with.

Big Al 2:44 pm 15 Sep 06

Not 100% Mr Shab – but I remembered reading about a joint Vic Police / Tax Office operation in central victoria a couple of years ago because tobacco farmers were selling seedlings to the public as a ‘cash crop’ and I believe that the issue was not so much undeclared income on the part of the tobacco farmer as avoided tax on the tobbacco … but like I said – not 100% no

Mr_Shab 12:46 pm 15 Sep 06

As for those bastids who ride bikes and don’t pay for petrol like a functioning member of society, string ’em up.

Hey Al – are you sure you’re not allowed to grow your own tobacco? I’m sure I’ve seen plants for sale in QLD nursuries.

Big Al 11:37 am 15 Sep 06

Exactly! But not just home brew and vege gardens – it gets worse! There’s no GST on fresh produce (well except for lobsters … you can blame the Democrats for that) – so people who eat fresh fruit and vegetables are stealing from the community by flagrantly avoiding taxes…

snahon 11:14 am 15 Sep 06

Applying the same principles, Home Brew and Vege gardens should also be illegal 🙂

Big Al 8:38 am 15 Sep 06

Here’s an interesting question. How come it’s illegal to grow your own tobacco because by doing so you maliciously rip off the Government by avoiding all the taxes that they impose on the stuff – yet it seems that it’s ok to make your own motor vehicle fuel – and in doing so stealing from the community by avoiding excises, levies and taxes? Does Steve Pratt know about this? Scandalous!

jk 2:28 pm 14 Sep 06

I filled up our turbo diesel ute (2005 Mazda Bravo 4×4) with a biodiesel blend at the coast on Saturday morning. I drove it around all day saturday, sunday morning then back to Canberra on Sunday afternoon. This included a mixture of driving at highway speeds, in urban areas and on 4WD tracks. I didn’t notice any performance degradation and the mileage was about the same as running 100% petrolium diesel.

HDJ80 12:29 pm 01 Sep 06

I have been making and using B100 – Biodiesel in Canberra for the past 12 months and the only problem during winter is that I have to mix the Biodiesel with Dinodiesel so it does not gell in the cold. I say this is a problem because I hate to put that crap in my good vehicle, I wish i lived in a warmer climate. So bottom line is there is no reason at all that you cannot use Biodiesel in Canberra.
There is nothing about either the production or the use of Biodiesel that is negitive to the Environment.

r5e 11:02 am 31 Aug 06

Yes, you are right Mr_Shab, we cannot run all of our current thirst for oil on biofuels with current technology. I am hoping that new and future biofuel crops like algae and also jatropha which can be grown on arid and slaty soils unsuitable for food crops could go some of the way to helping this issue.
However, with the spectre of peak oil raising its head, we need to augment our supply as much as we can. Also, the less oil we import and the more towards self sustainability we are, the better for our economic bottom line.
As for the EROI figures I quoted, they were just off the top of my head from figures I have heard other (trusted) people use. You could be right that they are not spot on and I would be happy to stand corrected on the exact figures. I think the figures are more to do with the entire life cycle of production, but I will have to research this more as the figures that you give for petrol are far better than the ones I have seen. I guess it depends where on the internet you look and whether the people who commissioned the study were oil companies or biofuel companies or hippies.
You are also right about how we do all need to rethink our dependence on oil and the car too.

Mr_Shab 10:35 am 31 Aug 06

I would take issue with the 0.9:1 EROI ratio for diesel you have quoted r5e. Were that the case, petroleum would never have caught on.

There seem to be a lot of figures on EROI going around. The greatest points of agreement I can find between various viewpoints seem to be that petroleum products get about 10:1-8:1 EROI; but that this is rapidly dropping as the bigger oilfields dry up, and we are forced to exploit more marginal sources.

3:1 (or 7:1 for recycled oil) seems credible for biodiesel, but we cannot meet the demands of our present market with biofuels (we’re just too thirsty). Unless of course, like some sensitive soul suggested, we give Africa (yes, all of it) over to oilseed production.

I’d say we either need a lot of work on fuel efficiency, or we need to seriously rethink our relationship with the car.

bonfire 10:34 am 31 Aug 06

I have a friend who runs his mower on alcohol he distills himself.

He also makes his own brandy and spirits.

He bought a still at butts and brew and hasnt spent a cent on mower fuel since (apart from the oil for the two stroke mix).

r5e 10:12 am 31 Aug 06

I’ve seen a few comments in here re biodiesel only have “marginal” environmental gains and also getting a better return on investment with petroleum distillate than with biodiesel. I’d just like to debunk some of these.

1. The complete life cycle of biodiesel production from the growing, to the harvesting, production, distribution and finally combustion in the engine (also called “field to wheel”) is carbon neutral or carbon negative. This means that the amount of CO2 emitted by using biodiesel is less than or equal to the amount of carbon absorbed by the plants used to make it. Compared to petroleum products which simply release the carbon captured from the fossil age (carbon positive), this is a huge environmental benefit in terms of greenhouse.
2. There are significant reductions in almost all emissions when running on biodiesel (even as a small blend with dino diesel). Smoke and particulates are significantly reduced. Biodiesel is an oxygenated fuel. Although it has marginally less energy content than petroleum distillate, it makes up for these with more efficient combustion, levelling at about 95% of the efficiency when combusted in an engine. This better, oxygenated combustion also means that the bits of soot and uncombusted fuel which normally come out of the exhaust as particulates/smoke are now burned in the chamber with the biodiesel. You will find that old smokers suddenly report much less of a cloud behind them when using biodiesel.
3. Energy costs. The “cost” of refining a fuel can be measured in the amount of energy you have to put into it, as opposed to the amount you get out of it. This can be a simple equation and does not involve economic costs, which is usually the only thing that people look at. To refine petrol, or distillate from crude oil and then burn it in your engine (the field to wheel), the ratio is around 0.9 :1. I know that sounds hard to believe but it costs nearly a barrel of oil to find, extract, process etc another barrel of oil in terms of energy used. When it reaches your vehicle from the pump, you don’t really care, you just notice the power you get from it, not the power it cost to get it. The cost of ethanol is similar, as the energy put into the distillation required is quite high. For biodiesel the ratio is more like 1:3, or as high as 1:7 for biodiesel made from waste cooking oil. The reason for this is that biodiesel is made from a chemical reaction rather than distillation and it does not have to be drilled from deep in the ground.

There is a lot of propaganda a misinformation in the public domain, as well as some “scientific” studies that have been commissioned by those who’s interests are not for alternative fuels which would disagree with some of the things that pro bio fuel people say. You have to make your own mind up.

Re resources for learning how to make it, or for finding out where to buy it – is a forum specifically for Australia. Much discussion on the above topics happens in there.

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