Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Biodiesel project launches near Echuca

A new biodiesel plant near Echuca has the potential to fuel industry growth and jobs in the area.

TRENT HORNEMAN February 27, 2013 4:47am

Madowla Park Biodiesel Facility opened February 26, after a $500 000 State Government grant. Fom left: Peter O'Donnell, owner of Madowla Park Biodiesel Facility and Paul Weller, Member for Rodney.

A new biodiesel facility, opened on a farm near Echuca yesterday, hopes to produce up to twomillion litres of fuel a year.

The facility at Madowla Park, between Echuca and Barmah, is a $1.76million project to create biodiesel, as well as animal feed.

The Victorian Government gave the project a major push last year, with a $500,000 grant as part of its Regional Growth Fund.

Madowla Park owner Peter O’Donnell said the project had the potential to create jobs, as well as provide farmers with a reliable fuel source.

Mr O’Donnell said the government money allowed his business to use Australian-made equipment, manufactured in southern NSW.

‘‘The Australian-made equipment is a little more expensive, but with the government money we were given, we felt it was beneficial to keep the money in Australia, rather than importing,’’ he said.

Mr O’Donnell said the biofuel produced at Madowla Park would go toward fuelling machinery at the farm and would be directly sold to customers.

‘‘It does not mean that there will be a bowser at the front door,’’ he said.

‘‘We will use the biofuel on-farm, as well as filling contractual arrangements with our customers.’’

‘‘Over time, we would like to be able to expand the business, to allow farmers to give us the grain. We will process it and return it to them as fuel.

‘‘This project can allow farmers to have a reliable source of fuel. Too often you see farmers running short of diesel, running up and down the road in their Furphy trucks.’’

Member for Rodney Paul Weller helped open the facility yesterday.

He said it was an innovative project, which had the potential to be replicated throughout the state.

‘‘The fuel will be marketed to local businesses which improves fuel security and the cost competitiveness of the region,’’ Mr Weller said.

‘‘It will also generate up to 4000 tonnes of animal feed, through a press-cake or meal pelletiser machine, for use in the company’s on-site manufacturing operations and supply to local livestock industries.’’

Mr Weller said as market awareness of biofuels continued to grow, the innovation shown in the Madowla Park Facility would be rewarded through the creation of more jobs in biofuels, manufacturing and farming industries.

‘‘This project represents an exciting opportunity to improve the resilience of local farmers and will stimulate activity and the viability of biofuels in regional communities,’’ he said.

‘‘The project demonstrates the benefits of closed-loop on-farm biodiesel production, a model which can be easily replicated statewide.’’

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