We've swapped diesel for hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) in a landmark trial aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our loco fleet. 



The renewable diesel trial is a first for the Australian sugar industry and a key initiative in Wilmar Sugar and Renewables' pathway to net zero.

Group Manager for Mobile Carl Schmidt said the company was running its newest loco on HVO for four weeks to compare performance and greenhouse gas emissions against diesel fuel.

“The product we’re using in the trial is made from recycled vegetable oil, which is an entirely renewable fuel source. It’s considered a straight replacement for diesel, and achieves a reportable emission reduction of 99 per cent,” Mr Schmidt said.

“We’re running the trial from our Victoria Mill in the Herbert region with our new 26-tonne loco, Brisbane, which commenced service in June.

“We will also be trialling HVO in one of our farm tractors, to get an indication of what sort of carbon reductions we can achieve in our agricultural machinery.”

Mr Schmidt said the trial was one of several initiatives being investigated to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Reliability Engineer Jesh Matthews said the Brisbane loco had been moved from cane transport duties to the raw sugar run for the trial, operating between Victoria Mill and the Lucinda Bulk Sugar Terminal.

“We’ve put the loco on the sugar line because it’s a less complex run, which enables us to achieve a more consistent duty,” Mr Matthews said.

“It’s a 44km round trip, hauling 90 sugar boxes, doing two runs each day. That will give us good data around performance, fuel efficiency and carbon emissions.”

The project team is measuring the loco’s fuel consumption and engine power on both traditional diesel and renewable diesel.

“This will allow us to verify that HVO gives us the same loco hauling capacity as diesel,” Mr Matthews said.

“We’re also measuring loco exhaust emissions for both fuels.”

The engineering team is also doing engine oil analysis to confirm the engine life is not adversely impacted by HVO.”

Wilmar is also exploring the electrification of locos and brake wagons to support its goal of net zero emissions.

Wilmar Sugar and Renewables is Australia’s leading sugar and renewables company. It manufactures more than half of Australia’s raw sugar, is Queensland’s largest producer of ethanol, and Australia’s largest producer of renewable energy from biomass.