Reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions and the quest for sustainable energy drives the federal government's campaign for green vehicles from the domestic automobile industry. One of the ways looked at as the way to go forward is the development of biodiesel in pure or mixed form.
Research has already shown that biodiesel can cut down greenhouse gases from vehicles, but output depends on the source materials. Used cooking oil used as feedstock makes the least amount of emissions overall. Palm oil can make 80 percent savings, but the overall impact depends on the nature of the plam oil plantation.
Plantations created from dried swamps leak out more methane and nitrous oxide from the ground compared to the savings made in internal combustion engines, resulting in net emission increases.
It is expected that future plantations for Australia's biodiesel will be located on existing farm-viable land, avoiding further impact on tree zones, swamps and food-farming areas.
Other source materials for Australian biodiesel include tallow, imported palm oil and canola, all currently used on a small scale.
Air quality will improve when biodiesel use spreads in Australia; biodiesel contains little or no sulphur, creates much less particulate matter compared to petrol, and is more biodegradable than fossil fuel. To improve its shelf life compared to petrol, stabilising additives can be blended in. Cars with parts adapted for low-sulphur fuel can immediately make the shift to biodiesel fuel with no need for any car modifications. Biodiesel without unwanted moisture also helps car engines last longer, doing a better job of lubricating pistons and cylinders.