ARfuels is the only publicly listed biodiesel producer in Australia.
The indiscriminate use of fossil fuels has led to global warming and unacceptably high levels of pollution in many cities around the world.
ARfuels, has an installed capacity to produce 150 million litres of biodiesel a year. The use of biodiesel results in lower pollution levels and serves to slow down global warming. With three plants located at Barnawartha, Adelaide and Picton, the company which was founded in 2005, has established itself as a proven and reliable supplier of biodiesel. ARfuels is the only publicly listed biodiesel producer in Australia and has successfully secured for itself a leading position in this nascent industry as an organisation which is committed to becoming the first choice for the fuel of the future.
ARfuels uses BDI and Energea plants that are technologically proven and have been in use globally for over 15 years. The plants are capable of using tallow, vegetable oils and used cooking oils as feedstock. The company’s personnel are fully conversant with the technologies that these plants utilise and have successfully optimised their functioning to increase yields and simultaneously reduce environmental discharges.
While ARfuels has a well-developed and reliable supply chain for feedstock, it is the company’s constant endeavour to increase the number of sources from which it obtains its raw material. To achieve this end the company actively promotes research in the area of biodiesel feedstock and is confident of its ability to arrange adequate quantities of this input to meet its requirements. ARfuels is conscious of the ongoing debate about diversion of food to manufacture biodiesel and as a responsible global citizen is taking steps to explore alternate sources like algae.
Global warming is a very real phenomenon which is caused by the emission of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The largest contributor to rising levels of carbon dioxide is the use of fossil fuels in cars, trucks and factories around the world. The increased levels of greenhouse gases lead to higher temperatures, melting of polar ice and rising ocean levels. Greenhouse gases are also trapped in ocean water leading to acidification and the consequent dying out of marine life. In addition to these detrimental effects the use of petrol and diesel in vehicles leads to the suspension of particulate matter in the atmosphere and this has a direct effect on the health of people who breathe in this air. Use of biodiesel is regarded as one of the accepted ways to reduce emissions and control the level of particulates in the atmosphere and also to reduce the rise in global temperature. ARfuels is at the forefront of the movement to produce an alternate fuel, biodiesel, which can gradually replace petrol and diesel.
Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation has certified that the use of biodiesel has remarkable effects on the level of pollution and global warming. The use of biodiesel can lower greenhouse gases by 100%, reduce hydrocarbons by 96%, lower carbon monoxide by 45% and lower particulate matter by 28%. In addition to these benefits biodiesel can be used in existing engines in exactly the same way as diesel is currently used. The storage and handling features are also the same as for fossil fuels.
In another study carried out by the National Biodiesel Board, a U.S. government agency, biodiesel has been shown to a have a far lower negative effect on the atmosphere than petroleum or diesel. The study has found that biodiesel does not have any sulphur emissions, and its emission of harmful hydrocarbons like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and nitrate PAH is 80% and 90% lower than that of diesel.
The biodiesel industry is poised for exponential growth in the long term as the supplies of fossil fuels dry up and the consequences of the use of petroleum products become increasingly apparent in the form of global warming and climate change. ARfuels is poised to take advantage of these developments. The government has already implemented certain steps which have a positive effect on the demand for biodiesel. One of such governmental regulations specify that in the tendering process weightage will be given for the sustainable business practices of bidders. It is expected that the government will impose many more regulations that promote green practices.
While global warming and climate change is a slow process which takes place over the years and decades, the pollution caused by vehicle emissions is very visible and its effects are immediate. Cars and trucks that run on petrol and diesel emit noxious fumes and the particulate matter that remains suspended in the air has ill effects on the health of thousands of city residents. While Australian cities have relatively lower levels of particulate matter suspended in the air, it is expected that rising vehicle emissions will influence public opinion and result in a call for cleaner fuels like biodiesel. ARfuels anticipates that there will be a shift in demand away from fossil fuels and towards biodiesel which has a number of advantages over petrol and diesel:
- It is clean and renewable. While fossil fuels were millions of years in the making, biodiesel can be manufactured using readily available feedstock, much of which is a waste-product and does not have any other utility.
- It does not cause pollution or global warming. Existing car engines can use biodiesel with little or no modification.
- The use of biodiesel results in longer engine life.
- It can be stored more safely than petrol and diesel as it has a higher flashpoint.
ARfuels has the first mover advantage of having entered the biodiesel industry a decade ago. The company anticipated that consumption of fossil fuels would gradually decline and be replaced by green alternatives. To capitalise on this, ARfuels invested in the best available technology and installed proven BDI and Energea plants. Over the years the company’s technicians have become familiar with these technologies and are now capable of making improvements to the plants so as to increase efficiencies and lower operating costs. The pool of trained personnel available with the company is one of its greatest strengths. The company lays the greatest stress on quality and towards this end utilises the services of ASG Analytik, one of the world’s most respected petroleum and related products quality assurance companies. The focus on quality by ARfuels ensures that all fuel supplied by the company complies with the specifications of the Australian Biofuel Standard.
Having established itself as the company with the largest installed capacity for producing biodiesel in the country, ARfuels is exploring alternate feedstock sources so that it can expand production when required. One of the most viable options being considered is the use of algae which has numerous advantages as a raw material for manufacturing biodiesel. The yield per hectare when algae is cultivated as a feedstock is a multiple of the yield obtained from coconut or palm, which are popular alternatives. Algae has the added advantage that it can be cultivated on non-arable land and it uses water that is unfit for other crops.
Pollution in Australian cities is not a major issue yet. However, this is more due to natural causes (the proximity of the ocean and the distance from high-polluting areas in Asia), than to the amount of pollution that the country generates. However, the emissions from industry, agriculture and vehicles in the country do contribute to global warming. As Public opinion on these issues grows and the government takes steps to control and reduce emissions, the demand for alternate fuels like biodiesel can only increase. The greatest advantage that biodiesel enjoys is that the existing infrastructure of storage facilities and petrol stations can be used for biodiesel and vehicles require little or no modification to switch to this green fuel.
ARfuels is ideally positioned to take advantage of the anticipated upturn in the demand for biodiesel in the country as it has the largest production capacity, access to the best technologies and a trained and experienced workforce.
AT A GLANCE
WHAT: Biodiesel producer, founded in 2005
WHERE: Corporate headquarters in Barnawartha, Vic.