Biogas fuels first truck

December 2010 News

The first truck fuelled by landfill gas in New Zealand was switched on by Auckland mayor Len Brown at Dairy Flat last Thursday.

His lack of a heavy vehicle licence meant that although he had the official honour of turning the key he had to sit in the passenger seat while a Redvale Landfill driver took the truck for a spin.

It had been converted to run on biogas processed from naturally occurring gas from the landfill. The Redvale project could see 54 million litres of diesel equivalent fuel annually coming out of the Transpacific owned landfill.

With a million litres of fuel a year needed to run the Redvale trucks, there is more than enough to power Transpacific's entire national truck fleet.

"This is the type of innovation that is going to drive our city," Mr Brown says.

"We need to find alternative energy and are desperately keen to develop alternative energy for vehicles in particular," he says.

Council environment and sustainability forum chairman Wayne Walker agrees: "There is the potential here to run our entire council fleet on this biogas," he says.

The company, which is able to capture around 90 percent of the gas the landfill gives off, has been using it to make electricity on site.

"There is enough gas coming off landfills around the country each year to power three large towns the size of Nelson," EECA business renewables manager Shaun Bowler says.

NIWA research engineer Stephan Huebeck looked at the operation after two other sites had proved unsuitable to set up a working business model for biogas.

It would be more cost effective to convert the gas into a transport fuel to replace diesel rather than for electricity, and more environmentally friendly because around 70 percent of New Zealand's electricity comes from renewable sources anyway, he says.


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