Virgin Australia launches biodiesel trial at Brisbane Domestic Airport

In a first for an Australian airline, Virgin Australia has launched a trial of sustainably sourced Biodiesel in its ground service equipment.

The initial testing at Brisbane Domestic Airport involves using a blend derived from locally sourced tallow and used cooking oil, mixed with conventional diesel in a 20:80 split. Over an eight-week period the fuel, produced by Ecotech Biodiesel at a local facility in Queensland, will be trialled in a baggage tug and a push-back vehicle.

The biodiesel provides a range of health and environmental benefits by reducing the amount of carbon and particulate matter emitted from the vehicles, as well as finding another use for waste products.

Virgin Australia Group Executive of Operations, Sean Donohue, said the biodiesel trial supports the airlines renewable jet fuel strategy to encourage the development of sustainable alternatives to fossil fuel sourced from our region.

"Biodiesel is commercially available now, cost-competitive with conventional diesel and helps improve our fuel economy. We were also drawn to Ecotech Biodiesel because its activities support Australian jobs, regional Australia and our natural environment," Mr Donohue said.

"Should the trial be successful, we hope to roll out biodiesel to our ground service equipment in Brisbane and other mainline airports. This could lead to a reduction in over 300 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide per year."

Biofuels Association of Australia Chief Executive Officer, Heather Brodie, added: "The trial offers substantial benefits for the environment and regional Australia, while reducing the airlines reliance on imported fuels. By working with local producer Ecotech Biodiesel, Virgin Australia is actively supporting the development of a sustainable, regionally developed alternative fuel."

Virgin Australia said this new project complements its renewable fuel strategy, to procure a sustainable, reliable, and economic supply of aviation fuel to meet the airlines aspirational target of 5% renewable fuel use from 2020.

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