Ditch fossil fuels to make cleaner journeys

New Zealand has been lagging behind the rest of the world on biofuels but now has a chance to catch up. 

A Good magazine promotion in partnership with Z Energy

Almost a fifth of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transport yet when it comes to fuel options there have been few alternatives to traditional fossil fuels, not making it easy for those who want to find a more environmentally friendly way to get around.

Local transport energy company, Z Energy, wanted to change that so has been working on creating Z Bio D from a renewable resource, bringing New Zealand into play with the rest of the world. 

Inside the new Bio D plant, Te Kora Hou, where Bio D is being made. To find out more about initiatives Z is taking to be a part of the sustainability solution, visit z.co.nz/about-z/sustainability

It will be the first domestically produced biodiesel blend offered at scale, rolling out to Z service stations in the coming months from Warkworth to Turangi – giving anyone who drives a diesel vehicle in one of the busiest parts of the country a more sustainable choice.

Taking a stand

Biodiesel, while pretty new to New Zealand, has been commonly used across Europe and a number of other countries for nearly 20 years.  In fact, biofuels are seen as so critical to reducing emissions by other nations, that include Canada and Asia, that some governments have implemented mandates to boost biofuel usage. 

Biofuels industry data shows 63 countries around the world have targets or mandates relating to the use of biofuels.  

Frustratingly, in New Zealand, no such government mandates or targets exist, but Z’s chief executive Mike Bennetts says that wasn’t going to stop Z from taking a stand.

“We know the impact the fuels we sell has on the environment but we’ve always said we’re up for being part of the sustainability solution, and we reckon making biodiesel available is the single biggest step we can take toward achieving that.”

A sustainable solution

The fuel is made from tallow, an inedible by-product of our meat industry that would otherwise be sent offshore to make soap and candles.

When running at capacity, the plant will produce around 20 million litres of biodiesel each year, saving around 37,000 tonnes of CO2 from New Zealand’s annual carbon footprint. 

When running at capacity, the plant will produce around 20 million litres of biodiesel each year, saving around 37,000 tonnes  of CO2 from New Zealand’s annual carbon footprint. 

Mike adds that adopting biofuels should be part of the wider solution that New Zealand needs to take to reducing emissions along with other steps, like electric vehicles.

“Moving towards electric vehicles is a critical step we fully support but, as a country, we can’t afford to leave alternative fuels on the sidelines, especially if we can act now.

“If we fail to consider other solutions we fail to consider a huge number of vehicles on our roads.”

Z has installed 6 EV chargers and will be rolling out more this year. It’s also working on a strategy to evolve as a company in a world with less reliance on fossil fuels.

“We’re under no illusion; creating Z Bio D is just one solution to the very complex climate change problem – but as one of the biggest investments in carbon reduction currently on the go in New Zealand, we reckon it’s a solid start.”

An interior aerial view of inside the plant 

What about the rest of the country? Z is up for looking at ways to make biofuels even more widely available but making that a reality will depend on the country, and even government, getting behind it. 

“New Zealanders have made it clear they want an alternative and we’ve invested more than $26 million, creating a plant to make it, but if New Zealanders want this option my challenge is to get behind it and use it.”

Steps Z takes to help our planet

  • Compostable cups at all Z Espress Stations 
  • Recycling used coffee grounds, giving them away for use in compost
  • Installing electric vehicle chargers at six Z service stations, with more this year
  • Being part of MEVO, New Zealand’s new EV car share scheme
  • Reducing waste to landfill from their retail operators by 60 percent in past three years
  • Being part of Conscious Consumers App 
  • Using LED lights in forecourt canopies 
  • Providing forecourt recycling bins
  • Sustainability code of conduct for suppliers

Simply switching the family car to Z Bio D could save the average driver close to 82kg  of CO2 each year 

Easy ways to do your 5 per cent of good for the planet

In late 2015, world leaders came together in Paris and agreed to an ambitious target of limiting global temperature increases to 1.5C by 2030. 

To put that into context, scientists say a two degree increase – just half a degree above the agreed target – could sink some island nations, worsen droughts and drive a third of the globe’s species to extinction. 

Z wants to know what it could do better to help the planet. Join the conversation this month at z.co.nz/WeCanDoBetter

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