Ampol Reveals Plans to Take Biodiesel on the Road

Ampol Reveals Plans to Take Biodiesel on the Road
Trucks are parked on the side of the closed M1 Pacific Motorway in Tweed Heads, Australia, on March 1, 2022. (Dan Peled/Getty Images)

Australia's biggest petrol retailer has revealed plans to produce renewable diesel for heavy trucks as part of a two-month trial.

Ampol made the announcement on Sept. 22, revealing it would make biodiesel for construction firm Hanson Australia, with plans to assess whether it could be produced at the company's Lytton refinery in future.

The news comes one month after Ampol announced plans to build hydrogen refuelling stations in Australia in a move to reduce emissions from heavy transport.

The company's new fuel will be a blend of 20 percent renewable diesel and 80 percent ultra low sulphur diesel.

A study by the U.S. Energy Department found renewable diesel fuel, which is typically made from fats and oils, produced fewer carbon emissions than petroleum diesel.

Ampol new business executive general manager Brent Merrick said the trial would be part of the company's efforts to cut emissions as it recognised "our customers' transport energy priorities (were) shifting."

"This renewable diesel trial is another step in our development of a renewable fuels business in Australia," Mr. Merrick said.

"The availability of renewable diesel, particularly for hard-to-abate areas, is of particular interest as it does not require vast fleet of infrastructure changes."

The biofuel will be used in heavy trucks over two months by Hanson Australia, which supplies construction and building materials around the country.

Chief executive Phil Schacht said the company had chosen to participate in a bid to lower its transport pollution.

"The trial furthers Hanson's commitment to (carbon dioxide) reduction across the supply chain, with innovation being the key to our road map," Mr. Schacht said.

Heavy-duty transport has become a growing focus for environmental research as it has proven to be a challenging area in which to reduce emissions.

In August, Ampol announced it would partner with OneH2 to build refuelling stations for hydrogen-powered trucks in Australia, and BP installed hydrogen refuelling equipment at its Lytton service station.

Many battery-electric heavy truck alternatives are yet to be allowed in Australia, due to national restrictions on front axle weight.

Organisations including the Electric Vehicle Council, Australian Trucking Association and Heavy Vehicle Industry Association have called on the federal government to change the restrictions, allowing more low-emission trucks onto local roads.