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Integration of first generation biodiesel into the Australian diesel fuel market

Reilly, Dylan (2011) Integration of first generation biodiesel into the Australian diesel fuel market. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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In a carbon constrained world, transitioning some or all of the fuel for transport away from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy will become increasingly important. This dissertation examines the current penetration of first generation biodiesel in the Australian diesel market and identifies the factors that will most influence current and future penetration.

The research identifies three critical factors in shaping penetration: price relativity to mineral (regular) diesel, government policy, and the environmental benefits of biodiesel. This dissertation concludes that these factors will be definitive in determining the penetration of biodiesel in the Australian diesel market.

Analysis of price relativity shows that mineral diesel is currently cheaper to supply than biodiesel, despite significant subsidisation. Importantly, the research also shows that biodiesel is likely to remain more expensive than mineral diesel under a carbon price or carbon tax regime.

The biodiesel policies and programs at the federal and state government levels are examined and critically assessed. The option of mandated targets is discussed and analysed. The research finds that despite several programs and policies currently in place, there is a lack of overall policy direction on biodiesel in the short term. The analysis also highlights the significant potential for government policy to shape pricing relativity – either in favour of, or against biodiesel.

The environmental and sustainability benefits of first generation biodiesel are assessed. The emerging role of the various sustainability roundtables in providing sustainability assurance is outlined and discussed. The research concludes that biodiesel does offer both environmental and sustainability benefits over mineral diesel – providing that sustainability criteria are adhered to. The research also concludes that there is not a clear consensus on those credentials among the various stakeholders and that more needs to be done to increase awareness of those benefits to foster uptake.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Energy
Supervisor(s): McHugh, Adam
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