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Viva Energy: Bio-fuelling sustainability progress

Biodiesel is a drop-in solution – it doesn’t require significant upgrades to company equipment or assets.

The Winslow Group has introduced biodiesel to its range of machinery, in line with its commitment to achieving robust sustainability outcomes, which Viva Energy is supporting with its innovative solutions.

Winslow Group is a civil construction services company passionate about protecting and enhancing the environment in which it operates. It is well into its decarbonisation journey, recently starting its move to biodiesel through Viva Energy.

Trent Chamberlain is the Group Procurement Manager at Winslow Group. He says the company realised the potential of biodiesel for reducing emissions after discussions with key stakeholders at an energy summit sponsored by Viva Energy. This realisation was fulfilled after Winslow Group completed the first carbon inventory of its operations in 2022. 

“Our 2022 carbon inventory brought to light the potential of biodiesel fuel as an easy solution,” says Chamberlain. “It was readily available to contribute to reducing our scope one emissions produced by diesel burn throughout our operations. We have a long-term relationship with Viva Energy, as they are our supplier of fuels and lubricants for our plant and equipment.” 

It was a natural progression for the Winslow Group to look at sustainable options with Viva Energy. The company is one of the largest fuel suppliers in Australia, with an extensive supply chain and logistics infrastructure to support its solutions.

“There is also a natural alignment between Winslow Group and Viva Energy’s sustainability ambitions, so taking our biodiesel journey together made sense.”

Trent Chamberlain, Group Procurement Manager, Winslow Group.
Trent Chamberlain, Group Procurement Manager, Winslow Group.

What is biodiesel?

Biodiesel is a co-mingled product with a bio-sourced Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME) component. These are esters of fatty acids derived from vegetable oils and animal fats. Biodiesel is used as an alternative to conventional diesel. Typically, biodiesel is blended with diesel in ratios of five (B5), 10 (B10) and 20 per cent (B20) ratios.

Chamberlain says that the product’s ability to provide environmental benefits without impacting company operations is what truly pushed Winslow Group over the line to introduce biodiesel. Competitiveness in the construction industry is ever-increasing, and downtime can be the difference between winning or losing a project tender. 

“Within the construction industry, delivery and lead times are critical to our clients,” says Chamberlain. “Limiting project downtime provides our customers with certainty around us being able to deliver the job on time, without delays. We’re cautious about making any changes that could impact our overall production schedules of the job sites we work on.

“For us, introducing biodiesel was a logical choice. It requires no capital investment in any of our plant or equipment. The B10 blend we’re using is essentially a drop-in solution. It doesn’t have any real impact on our operations or equipment, and our vehicles’ fueling process remains the same.”

Advantages of biodiesel

Viva Energy Key Account Manager – Transport Yap Chong Hua says biodiesel has several advantages. Of particular note is the sustainability outcomes biodiesel produces without impacting the company’s operations. 

“My role is to support customers in their transition to biodiesel by providing them access to the right technical experts within our business,” says Yap. “We supported the Winslow Group through our fuel product quality experts, who can answer any questions.” 

Winslow Group is introducing a B10 biodiesel blend with the help of Viva Energy.
Winslow Group is introducing a B10 biodiesel blend with the help of Viva Energy.

Viva Energy also engaged its supply chain specialists to ensure Winslow Group’s transition to biodiesel was seamless.

Yap says that a big part of his role includes helping customers to transition to biodiesel without impacting their operations. Viva Energy also ensures that product quality is up to specification. Both Viva Energy and the customer can address any OEM requirements or concerns about using biodiesel.

The major advantage is there is no need for the company transitioning to biodiesel to change any of its business practices, according to Yap. The company can order the biodiesel instead of their regular diesel. As a result, they can get up to 20 per cent bio component and, therefore, a 20 per cent reduction in carbon emissions with no impact on operations. Fundamentally, it’s business as usual for the contractor.


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Support through education

Winslow Group’s introduction of biodiesel has been further streamlined by the extensive support it has received along the way. Viva Energy has provided educational materials to Winslow Group’s plant and logistics department. That has helped all its team members understand the benefits of using biodiesel.

“Viva Energy has also provided information about the various blends of biodiesel available to be used on different pieces of our plant and equipment,” says Chamberlain. “It’s because that percentage can change depending on things like engine configuration and equipment, brands, and a range of other factors. Viva Energy has provided all the information needed to make our move to introduce biodiesel successful.”

Chamberlain is getting more and more calls from Winslow Group’s project managers. They are speaking to their clients about what sustainability options Winslow Group can bring into the jobs and developments they’re creating. 

“We’re seeing an increase in customers wanting contractors to use sustainable solutions on their projects. This increase is happening on all levels. It does not matter whether it is big publicly listed companies with clear targets around their sustainability ambitions or smaller private developers,” he says.

Yap Chong Hua, Key Account Manager – Transport, Viva Energy.
Yap Chong Hua, Key Account Manager – Transport, Viva Energy.

Understand biodiesel

As it does with all its customers, Viva Energy puts in time and effort to understand precisely what Winslow Group is trying to achieve and the timeline it has in mind for its sustainability journey. As Mairead Hayes, National Sales Manager – Commercial Road Transport at Viva Energy, puts it – “there’s no one size fits all solution on the sustainability journey”.

Although customers like Winslow Group are leading the way, says Hayes, the market is still maturing in the sustainability space. 

“As things evolve, we’ll see different solutions become more practical and applicable to different types of customers,” she says. “We have drop-in solutions ready right now for customers looking to start their sustainability journey, such as biodiesel and renewable diesel, and we’re also working on solutions for future applications.”

“These drop-solutions are generally accepted by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), but as always, owners should always check in with them before making the change.

“Winslow Group consulted with its OEMs about transitioning items of plant and equipment to biodiesel, who were comfortable to give the green light.”

Both Viva Energy and Winslow Group are seeing a sustainability push from stakeholders from all levels of the supply and value chain. There’s still a way to go for the industry to make genuine inroads in reducing its emissions output, with conventional fuels still a requirement while infrastructure and technology evolve. But partnerships like that of Viva Energy and Winslow Group, bolstered by their collaborative approach, are setting a standard for what can be achieved by harnessing sustainable solutions today. 

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

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