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Thread: The Death of Commercial Biodiesel in Australia?

  1. #1
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    Unhappy The Death of Commercial Biodiesel in Australia?

    The Australian Government (the Department of Environment and Heritage) is looking at reducing the blend of B5 able to be sold in Australia to 5%. This is NOT a mandated 5%, but a maximum (though exceptions can be made for private/captive fleets - not the likes of you and I).

    All players in the Biodiesel Industry have bemoaned this, as per the submissions made to the DEH last year. The petroleum interests as well as the motoring industry have unsurprisingly supported low blends, citing all the usual reasons.

    Those of you who make your own biodiesel - you may think this does not apply and maybe you'd feel grateful as some of you saw commercial biodiesel as a predator of your local resource of waste oil.

    Those of you who run SVO, you may not think is is important as you'll think you can still keep going as you did.

    Those of you who want to keep your heads down and look after yourselves, as those clowns in government won't look after you - feel free, but don't complain when things don't go your way.

    Some of you may have recognised an analogue in the above statements.



    I'm a little tired of caring about all this just at the moment. Hopefully somewhere out there will be some people who might try adding their support to those who still try to fight it, for all the small gains that we take for granted. I've done my bit for now.

    Those of you who want to stand by and watch it happen to the rest - enjoy it until they come for you.
    Last edited by Robert; 29th January 2008 at 02:56 AM.
    Robert.
    Site Admin.

  2. #2
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    Re: The Death of Commercial Biodiesel in Australia?

    I feel that we should make a representation and am prepared to be part of it.

    The first thing that cones to mind for me is to seek a meeting with Peter Garrett. His local office is not far away.

    If anybody else would like to join me then please let me know.

    In the mean time I am going to try to get my head around this a it better - I don't want to turn up to his office looking like a dill.

    Regards,
    Cameron

  3. #3
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    Re: The Death of Commercial Biodiesel in Australia?

    I am keen to participate in any way I can to help the bio-diesel cause, although I'm not in Sydney, so can't go knocking on Peter's door.

    I have just had a quick skim of the discussion paper and don't really understand the various references to there being no quality standards for Australian bio-diesel. As I understand it the Fuel Quality Standards 2000 legislation makes it illegal to sell or supply fuel that does not comply with the government mandated fuel standards and that these standards are subsequently set out in the biodiesel standard 2003.

    These standards indicate that any commercial bio-diesel must be of a standard that exceeds that for petro-diesel and I would have thought that ANY blend of bio with petro would therefore result in a fuel that exceeded the standard for petro-diesel!

    I fail to see how a 2% blend (as stated by Caltex) could fail to meet the petr-diesel standard given the B100 from which it is made would (presumably) have to meet the standard.

    I don't know whether I've missed something obvious here, but it seems as if many of the comments contained in the discussion paper are mis-informed or at least not addressing the issues.

    Bazza

  4. #4
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    Re: The Death of Commercial Biodiesel in Australia?

    Years ago I visited Canberra and had a yarn with the Treasury about homemade biodiesel. They admitted that all the reasons they had put forward about homemade biodiesel were red herrings. They told me, "if you can bring something to the table, we'll talk"

    It's all about money. If the Canberra Clowns can make a buck off it, then it will get approved. Heck, look at aspartame or floride.

    The country in entering Peak Oil in a death spiral and all these idiots can think of is, 'what's in it for me'.

  5. #5
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    Re: The Death of Commercial Biodiesel in Australia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Syd View Post
    Years ago I visited Canberra and had a yarn with the Treasury

    How exactly did you do this?

  6. #6
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    Re: The Death of Commercial Biodiesel in Australia?

    There was a meeting of various people that were involved with the biodiesel movement in Australia. During that meeting the Treasury representatives affirmed their position that homemade biodiesel would not be excise free and that it was not analogous to homemade beer. After the meeting, I went with a number of representatives from Treasury and we had a discussion outside the elevators. It was at that time that they told me that if I brought something to the table that would provide an income flow to the government, that they would be willing to talk.

    They apparently haven't figured out a clever way to tax the movement. All they can think of is the Big Hammer. I proposed a 'permit' system where individuals could have a permit to manufacture an amount of biodiesel per year for personal use. The permit system would eliminate all the morass of red tape and 5 years of records that would have to be done under the present government approved system. The Treasury wasn't interested, they wanted taxes.

    I'm not on their payroll, but they wanted me to figure out how to make their tax system work - and then they would talk. ("trust me, I'm from the government")

  7. #7
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    Re: The Death of Commercial Biodiesel in Australia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Syd View Post
    There was a meeting of various people that were involved with the biodiesel movement in Australia. During that meeting the Treasury representatives affirmed their position that homemade biodiesel would not be excise free and that it was not analogous to homemade beer.


    If you don't mind, could you share some more details about this meeting? Date, topic, occasion... I'd like to look into it a bit more if the information is available (I'm an employee).

  8. #8
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    Re: The Death of Commercial Biodiesel in Australia?

    GDAY,I am a little off topic but i have a gut feeling that one day i will get a visit from two men in suits representing customs and excise. The visit will be the result of someone who wants to cut down a perceived tall poppy who has the attitude of why should he get cheap fuel and we have to pay the going retail price.There is a 1800 number in your phone book to contact the ATO to dob in someone who is commiting tax evasion. regards Westwinds

  9. #9
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    Re: The Death of Commercial Biodiesel in Australia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Westwinds
    I have a gut feeling that one day i will get a visit from two men in suits representing customs and excise.
    It happened to the Orange Biodiesel Cooperative: a bunch of farmers trying to do the right thing - lasted for a while, got some good media, then bang, bankrupted. The ATO closed them down - they couldn't pay the excise that they thought they could avoid through the correct means, or so the rumours that I heard go. I can't find any real stories on the 'net about it, so it's just what I heard from some people in the industry. If anyone can find any real news about this occurrence, I'd be interested.

    As for me, I don't use home produced biodiesel. In my efforts to promote the use of biodiesel, I would also not like to be singled out as a tall poppy either. The decision I have made to only use commercial biodiesel is done at some expense to myself, but at least I have always paid my excise this way, so I can rest easy on that one.

    Technically though, both my wife and I would be guilty of not having a blender's license every time we put biodiesel in a tank that already contains some dino, or vice versa. Same goes for any SVO person who mixes unleaded or distillate in. I'm sure if the ATO wanted to find something they could, but it would not be practical for them to do so and would look very silly in the public eye if the media got wind of it.

    I have heard people from the ATO at biodiesel conferences talking about this subject. They do not make the rules, they follow the legislation as best they can. Often the law is a bit lacking, such as the above blending example, so they have to use common sense. They have never wanted to go after the home producer as it would be a paperwork nightmare for very little reward. Still, just because they say they won't get you does not mean that the Sword of Damocles is not still hovering.

    I don't agree that the excise should exist on home production and I have always offered to support any movement that wanted to challenge this. I don't believe it is right that the biodiesel people are driven underground, afraid of being called tax evaders, when they should be able to proudly promote what they are doing. This was why I started this forum.

    Presently, the only way to proudly promote biofuels is to tag yourself as a user, not a producer and play down where you get it from.


    Bazza - welcome. If you are keen to participate, please do! The blending issue is unfortunately not as simple as getting on-spec B100 and mixing it with on-spec distillate and getting an on-spec blend. I don't understand all the complexities, but I have heard it explained by industry blenders before. (Perhaps someone else will have a good explanation on it?)

    I know that some producers, can blend biodiesel in such a way that they can reach strengths of B40-50 and still meet the mineral diesel spec! I would pick that as the preferred option, as then you'd do away with the OEMs saying that they won't warrant the fuel, as they would HAVE to warrant it if it met the current spec for petro diesel. I'd imagine the government would not be too popular with all the overseas vehicle importers if they did that.

    There is much truth in the discussion paper, but you are right, some of it seems a little misinformed and missing the mark. Some of it is based on out of date information, or seizing only part of the facts. Overall, it does take all the represented viewpoints well, I have not seen any of the biodiesel industry views misrepresented in here. Unfortunately, there are also many other views from pro-petroleum interests diluting the mix. At the end of it, it gets watered down to the lowest common denominator. This would not be an easy job to have to draw the line and it is unfortunate that what I consider in the best interests of the nation fall below that line.
    Robert.
    Site Admin.

  10. #10
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    Re: The Death of Commercial Biodiesel in Australia?

    mrnamjama, Here's a link to the BEER thread where I mentioned the meeting -

    BEER Website - Topic Powered by eve community

    My post is at 11 March 2005 (almost 3 years ago)

    Take a look through the WHOLE THREAD. It will give you an idea about what has been going on regarding this issue.

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