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Viva Energy: Aiding a global movement

Viva Energy is embracing alternative fuel sources.

Viva Energy is utilising its experience in refining, importing and delivering fuels to accelerate the use of alternative and low-carbon energy options. Robert Cavicchiolo, Viva Energy Carbon Solutions Manager explains.

Since records began in 1880, the Earth’s temperature has risen every decade. The rate of warming has more than doubled since 1981 (NOAA Climate.gov).

And as of 2022, the global economy is consuming 70 per cent more virgin materials than the world can safely replenish (RECYCLING Magazine).

Global policies, such as the Paris Accord and Australia’s own commitment to reduce emissions by 2030 have created change. 

Robert Cavicchiolo, Viva Energy – Carbon Solutions, says this journey is very much in its infancy.

Viva Energy is the Shell licensee in Australia and one of the nation’s largest suppliers of fuels for a diverse range of sectors.

Cavicchiolo is a part of Viva Energy’s Carbon Solutions team, a department whose focus is to help customers decarbonise their operations through the development and distribution of low-carbon alternative fuels.

He says that despite the establishment of global and domestic policies, more is required to stem the impacts of global warming and climate change.

“Companies have made commitments such as being net zero by 2050 but have also set some interim targets to reach before 2030 or even earlier,” Cavicchiolo says.

“For our customers, their biggest generator of emissions can be the use of diesel, so we realised that we’ve got a responsibility to provide pathways for our customers to help them address that over time.” 

It was this ethos that led Viva Energy to look internally and realise the potential for alternative and low-carbon fuels to reduce – and in some cases even eliminate – impacts on the environment.

“We realised that we were an important part of that journey and that we had to look at providing innovative solutions and products that allow businesses to utilise low carbon, or potentially zero-emissions technologies, in the marketplace,” Cavicchiolo says.

He adds that this push from industry led to the creation of the department that he is now part of.

“Particularly in the last four years, we’ve seen rapid change,” he says. “Which is why we set up a new team called Carbon Solutions, which is essentially there to address this issue and help our customers along their decarbonisation journey.” 

Robert Cavicchiolo, Viva Energy Carbon Solutions.
Robert Cavicchiolo, Viva Energy Carbon Solutions.

The first step 

One way that Viva Energy is helping its customers to reduce their environmental impact is the development of ‘opt-in’ carbon neutral products. These products are Climate Active certified and a voluntary option. 

Cavicchiolo says these products enable companies to have the flexibility of adopting new technologies while retaining their current equipment and processes.

“We apply carbon credits to negate the emissions for the use of diesel for example,” he says. “You’re using carbon credits to offset those emissions associated with the combustion or utilisation of those fuel sources.

“Offsetting should be used after companies have investigated other ways to avoid, reduce or eliminate their carbon emissions. We realise that customers might want to start that journey straight away and that’s one of the easiest ways customers can start that process.”


 

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Viva Energy’s Geelong Energy Hub forms part of this vision. The potential projects under this proposal include a gas terminal and a solar energy farm, as well as developing Australia’s first publicly accessible service station that offers electric vehicle recharging and hydrogen refuelling for heavy fuel cell electric vehicles.

The ‘New Energies Service Station’ will be located in close proximity to the Energy Hub.

Viva Energy also has plans in place to develop infrastructure to support the utilisation of used cooking oil, animal fats and components from plastic waste that would otherwise end up in landfill. These alternative feedstocks will be blended with crude oil to reduce the carbon intensity of fuel produced at the refinery. 

Viva Energy has also set its own decarbonisation agenda with commitment to achieve net zero for Scope One and Two emissions across its retail, fuels and marketing departments (all non-refining parts of the business) by 2030. Viva Energy also plans to achieve net zero for Scope One and Two emissions across all of its business by 2050.

Establishing future pathways 

On top of developing infrastructure for sustainable fuels like hydrogen and electric, Viva Energy is also investing in bringing to market a range of drop-in fuels such as biodiesel. 

These ‘FAME’-based biodiesel blends will likely form part of the company’s short- to medium-term vision for increased sustainability, Cavicchiolo says.

“That comes out of working collaboratively as a fuel company with OEMs and the end customer to learn what their requirements are. Then we can make sure that we are supplying these products to meet the market’s needs,” he says.

“We adopt the right product quality and the fuel management and have the programs and processes in place to ensure that they’re getting what they need. Products like renewable diesel or HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) are now truly accepted by OEMs both locally and globally as an approved pathway to decarbonise their existing fleet and equipment.”

Viva Energy is developing adequate demand and infrastructure for the future of sustainable fuels.
Viva Energy is developing adequate demand and infrastructure for the future of sustainable fuels.

For asset and fleet owners who aren’t sure where to begin, Cavicchiolo says creating an understanding of your current carbon footprint is critical before making a start.

“Once you’ve got that, it’s important to plan how the company is going to reduce emissions and explore the different short-to-medium-term low-carbon pathways and zero-emissions products for the longer term,” he says. “It is also important for companies to liaise with their own customers to find out about their emission reduction or carbon footprint initiatives.

“People need to consider the macro environment to address customer and contractual commitments. You’ve really got to collaborate with your fuel suppliers to help understand the different options available.”

Cavicchiolo says the road ahead relies on commitment and action from both private and public industry to drive change. 

“Companies will have to adapt, using technologies and solutions in the marketplace to remain relevant,” he says. “We see it as an opportunity, but it’s a really complex journey that we’re all going on. We are talking to a lot of our customers about how we can help them on with their decarbonisation plans and targets. 

“Ultimately, we have an obligation, irrespective of your views on global warming. For me, personally, I’ve got an ambition to make sure that we’re able to leave a better environment for my children and future generations.” 

This article was originally published in the September edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

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