Shadforths Civil Engineering Contractors on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is trialling B20 soy biodiesel in 20 machines at the Sunshine Coast Council’s new Nambour landfill site.


Fleet and environment manager Greg Jenkyns said the feedback from operators had been promising.


‘‘We’ve been speaking to our fitters on site and they haven’t had any problems since we’ve been using it,’’ he said.


‘‘Shadforths has more than 300 heavy machines and vehicles in our fleet and we consume a substantial amount of fuel every year. Converting our entire fleet to biofuel is estimated to result in saving of approximately 1800 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions into the atmosphere each year.”


Soy biodiesel is made wholly from the waste byproduct of soybean processing and the B20 form is used by a number of large organizations across the country. Mr Jenkyns said a survey of staff had been the catalyst for the conversion to biofuel.The company hoped other Coast-based businesses would follow its lead and look to reduce the impact of their operations on the environment.


‘‘There’s no modification required on the engines to make the switch," he said.


"All of the properties are similar to the mineral diesel and the cetane number is very similar to the mineral diesel.


‘‘In the future if they do bring in a carbon tax, if we have already trialled it and we’re already using it then there will be big savings for us depending on what the Government does.


‘‘During our course of research we spoke to a lot of people and of course you get a few sceptics. However, they hadn’t actually used it, so we wanted to trial it for ourselves and get some first hand experience. Hopefully in the long term with a cleaner fuel we won’t have to renew injectors and clean the injector pumps as often – but that is something we’ll have to trial out for ourselves.’’


The company is also exploring alternatives in other parts of its business to reduce its carbon footprint and minimalise the expense should the carbon tax be introduced.


"We’re upgrading our fleet so a lot of our new machines are built to the European Emission Control standards," he said.


"By upgrading now, we’ll end up with a greener fleet.


"We’re also looking at other options like solar power for our workshop and we’re moving into another type of business, which is road stabilisers and that involves reusing the road materials."