High-tech fuel for tomorrow's
24 March 2010
Joint media release: Caltex Australia, Coskata, Holden, Mitsui
& Co., Veolia Environmental Services, Victorian
- Victoria: potential site of ground-breaking renewable fuel
- Technology: second-generation ethanol production uses waste to
- Sustainable: automotive leader makes E85 flex-fuel vehicles
Victoria could soon be home to a ground-breaking green fuel
technology plant, with the announcement of a consortium formed
between the Victorian State Government and a group of leading
The consortium - which also includes Holden, Caltex, Veolia, Mitsui
and Coskata - will investigate the viability of establishing
Australia's first ethanol plant capable of turning materials such
as household rubbish and building waste into more than 200 million
litres of ethanol a year. This ethanol will be blended into an
alternative fuel known overseas as E85; a mixture of up to 85 per
cent ethanol and 15 per cent regular petrol.
Holden Energy and Environment Director Richard Marshall said the
organisations in the consortium were committed to sustainable
motoring through the development of renewable fuels that reduced
greenhouse gas emissions and improved energy security.
"Our vision is that this technology will, in time, cut Australia's
dependence on petrol by up to 30 per cent and make a major
contribution to sustainable motoring and greenhouse gas reduction,"
Mr Marshall said.
He said Holden would introduce Australia's first locally produced
flex-fuel vehicles capable of running on the high-ethanol fuel,
later this year.
"We've always said we'd take a leadership position on biofuels, and
provide the vehicles to do that. We're committed to having locally
built Holden cars capable of running on E85 in the market by 2010,"
he said. "It's about designing and engineering vehicles for
Australians, built by Australians, using Australian fuel
Holden's leadership in alternative fuels in Australia is part of
GM's global sustainability and energy diversity strategy. In the
United States, GM is the leading producer of flex-fuel vehicles
with more than 3.5 million E85-capable GM cars on the road
To ensure availability of the fuel for Holden's vehicles, Caltex
Australia's General Manager Marketing Andy Walz said the company
had signed an agreement with Holden which committed to installing
pumps in 30 metropolitan and regional service stations later this
year, increasing to 100 within 12 months.
"Caltex's expansion into this new fuel and participation in the
consortium is part of our ongoing commitment to biofuels and
tackling climate change, which fits well with a strategy of
providing energy beyond the traditional fuel mix," Mr Walz
"Caltex already has about 400 service stations that sell E10 and a
growing biodiesel market. We believe the biofuels industry has a
vital role in a sustainable transport fuels future and that
biofuels are good business opportunity for Caltex."
The plant would produce ethanol using a process developed by
leading US biofuel company Coskata Inc, which last year unveiled
one of the world's few plants capable of producing ethanol from
material such as agricultural waste and household rubbish.
Chief Marketing Officer Wes Bolsen said not all biofuels were
created equal. "At Coskata, we don't make fuel from food crops, we
use sources like municipal waste that have reached the end of their
lifecycle and turn them into renewable energy, which leads to a net
positive effect for the environment," Mr Bolsen said.
Simon Tori, Victorian Group General Manager for Veolia
Environmental Services said the initiative was a quantum leap from
the way in which Victoria currently receives, sort and treats its
"Deriving energy from municipal, commercial and industrial waste
that is otherwise bound for landfill, is an exciting possibility
and such a facility will enable Veolia to be at the forefront of
the emerging Advanced Resource Recovery Treatment sector."
For information on Coskata technology, production and publication
quality images and footage, visit: http://www.epkzone.com/coskata/
For information on Holden's alternative fuel strategies, including
ethanol, visit: http://www.holden.com.au/holden-innovation/ecoline
Alternatively, visit www.caltex.com.au
information about these consortium partners.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is E85?
E85 is an alcohol fuel mixture sold in the United States, Brazil
and Europe that contains up to 85 per cent ethanol and 15 per cent
petrol. Ethanol is ethyl alcohol, the same type of alcohol found in
alcoholic beverages. When Caltex retails the fuel, it will include
between 70 and 85 per cent ethanol blended with regular petrol,
depending on the time of year. This is similar to the seasonal
variation in ethanol content overseas. Ethanol works best in warmer
conditions, so during the winter months Caltex will decrease the
amount of ethanol in the biofuel blend to ensure optimal
What are the benefits of fuel containing up to 85 per cent
There are several important benefits, including:
Where can I buy the fuel for flex-fuel
- It helps reduce our dependence on fossil fuels
- It helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- It can be used with conventional engine technology with some
adaptations, such as in Holden flex- fuel vehicles
- Ethanol, the major component of the fuel, is a renewable
Later this year, Caltex will begin selling the new fuel at 30
selected metropolitan and regional service stations, increasing to
100 stations within 12 months. In addition, some selected
independent fuel retailers currently sell E85.
Are ethanol-blended fuel or flex fuel cars being used
Ethanol-blended fuel is used in vehicles in the United States,
Brazil and Sweden. In the US, GM is the global leader in producing
flexible-fuel vehicles, with more than 3.5 million of the more than
7.5 million flex-fuel vehicles on the road are GM cars and trucks.
GM has also committed to making more than half of its vehicle
production flex-fuel capable by 2012.
What is the fuel economy of E85?
When driving on E85, the fuel consumption per kilometre will be
higher because ethanol contains less energy than petroleum. The car
needs the same amount of energy; consequently the car needs more
What about E10? Can I fuel my car with that?
Most new and many older model vehicles can run on E10 blended fuel
without compromising the engine or manufacturer's warranty.
Motorists can check their car's compatibility with E10 fuel at
How is ethanol produced?
Today, Australian plants produce ethanol from the waste streams of
the industrial production of wheat starch, sorghum and molasses.
Unlike other technologies and facilities that often rely on one
primary source of feedstock, the ethanol facility being
investigated for Victoria would be producing ethanol from numerous
sources, including wood biomass, agricultural waste, construction
waste, and even household garbage. This is generally referred to as
a second-generation ethanol production process.
Can I fuel my car with E85?
At this stage, very few cars on Australians roads are capable of
running on E85, and, when it is introduced, Holden's Commodore will
be the first Australian-made car able to run on E85. This
innovative fuel technology is not suitable for use in any motor
vehicles other than those designed specifically for E85.
Will Holden cars be able to run on any other fuel other
Yes. The vehicles relevant to this announcement will have flex-fuel
technology, meaning they are capable of running on fuels ranging
from standard unleaded all the way to E85.
FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES, CONTACT:
Holden - Emma Watts, Corporate Communications Manager, 0457 787
Caltex - Frank Topham, Manager Government Affairs and Media, 0411
Veolia - Simon Tori, Group General Manager, Victoria, 0418 311
Coskata - email: email@example.com