Large chunk of Fonterra fleet now running on biodiesel

Large chunk of Fonterra fleet now running on biodiesel

25 March 2019

Almost a third of Fonterra’s milk tankers are now running on biodiesel.

The Co-op has been working closely with Z Energy since 2014 to help introduce biodiesel to New Zealand as part of its commitment to reduce emissions across its operations.

Today, Fonterra’s 156 tankers in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty area are running on the more eco-friendly fuel, producing 4% less emissions each year.

Fonterra General Manager National Transport and Logistics Barry McColl says it’s a step in the right direction for reaching climate targets.

“Over the course of a year, our use of 160,000 litres of biodiesel, mainly in the Waikato and Central North Island, will prevent around 425 tonnes of carbon dioxide being emitted.

“By working with Z Energy, we’re taking another step toward reducing our carbon footprint. We’re also supporting the commercialisation of biodiesel which will eventually help other businesses, the public and farmers use it to reduce their emissions.

“We’re one of the most emissions efficient producers of dairy in the world. We’re proud of that, but we’re also up for the challenge of doing better,” says Barry

No modifications are needed to use the new fuel, which is a blend of up to 5% biodiesel and ordinary diesel.

Using biofuel is just one of the ways Fonterra is working toward its target to reduce emissions by 30% across all its operations by 2030, with a goal to achieve net zero by 2050.

It’s a big ask, given the average Fonterra milk tanker clocks up about 400,000 kilometres each season. The entire fleet travels almost 100 million km every year - that’s equal to around 130 return trips to the Moon!

Using biofuel is just one of the ways Fonterra is working toward its target to reduce emissions by 30%

The 525-strong tanker fleet is operated by 1,500 drivers nationwide, who work three days on and then three days off, as they collect milk from more than 10,000 farmer-suppliers.

During peak milk season, most of the fleet is on the road day and night, picking up a vat of milk every nine seconds around the country. Each unit can hold 28,800 litres of milk - 11,300 litres in the truck and 17,500 litres in the trailer.

Driving the massive truck and trailer units is a skilled job, particularly once the tanker starts to fill to milk.

Drivers have to be very conscious of their milk load as the tanker fills. One of the most dangerous driving times is when the tanker is a third to two-thirds full and on a winding road. The corners cause the milk to slosh from side to side and excessive G-forces can potentially cause the trailer to roll.

However, a touch pad in the cab shows the driver how full the tank is, with the graphic changing colour when the load is dangerous and when it is stable.

Each truck is also fitted with the Tanker Activity Management System (TAMS), which monitors the driving. If the driver brakes too hard, speeds, or takes a corner too harshly, an alarm goes off and the incident is recorded.