In a first for an Australian airline, Virgin Australia has
launched a trial of environmentally-friendly biodiesel in
its ground service equipment.
The initial trial involves using a biodiesel blend derived
from locally sourced tallow and used cooking oil (split
20:80 conventional petrodiesel) in a baggage tug and a
push-back vehicle at Brisbane Domestic Airport over an
The biodiesel used in the trial is produced by Ecotech
Biodiesel at a local facility in Narangba in Queensland and
provides a range of environmental benefits including
reduced carbon and soot emissions. Refuelling Solutions,
another Australian company, is providing logistical support
and storage for the trial.
Virgin Australia Group Executive of Operations Sean Donohue
said the biodiesel trial supports the airline's renewable
jet fuel strategy to encourage the development of
sustainable alternatives to fossil fuel sourced from our
"At Virgin Australia, we are committed to reducing the
environmental impact of our operations both in the air and
on the ground. Using a biodiesel blend in all of our
baggage tugs and push-back vehicles would help us reduce
the greenhouse emissions generated by our ground
"Biodiesel is commercially available now, cost-competitive
with conventional petro-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.
"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 CO2 per year", Mr Donohue said.
Biofuels Association of Australia Chief Executive Officer
Heather Brodie said: "The trial offers substantial benefits
for the environment and regional Australia, while reducing
the airline's 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 the strategy complements its
renewable fuel strategy to procure a sustainable, reliable,
and economic supply of aviation fuel to meet the airline's
aspirational target of 5% renewable fuel use from 2020.