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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

14 July 2005

Cleaner Diesel fuel quality - Australian First

The arrival of a new cetane testing device will help ensure Australians are supplied with cleaner diesel and biodiesel fuels, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said today.

Senator Campbell said Cetane was an important measure of the ignition quality of these fuels, but up until now its direct measurement could not be carried out in Australia.

“Higher levels of cetane in diesel and biofuels, like octane in petrol, make your vehicle perform better. Many low cetane fuels increase engine deposits, leading to more smoke, increased exhaust emissions and greater engine wear,” Senator Campbell said.

“The Canadian-made Ignition Quality Tester (IQT) is the first of its kind in Australia.

“While Australia’s diesel suppliers already provide a high-quality product, this new level of independent testing will provide consumers with greater confidence in the quality of the diesel fuels they buy.”

Australia currently tests diesel against the less accurate ‘cetane index’. The arrival of the IQT will enable diesel to be tested against a ‘cetane number’, a higher standard that operates in the United States and Europe.

“From September 18, when a cetane standard for biodiesel is introduced, the IQT will also give us the ability to measure the cetane number in biodiesel fuels, ensuring they comply with the standards we expect.

“We are moving into a new era of accuracy in the testing techniques we use to determine the quality of diesel and biodiesel fuels, an important step forward for Australian consumers.”

Senator Campbell said the capacity to test for the cetane number in diesel and biodiesel fuels would help in the Australian Government’s effort to clean up fuels as part of its national fuel compliance and enforcement program for the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000.

The Department of the Environment and Heritage helped Intertek-Caleb Brett bring the IQT to Australia. The test can be used on any compression ignition fuel including conventional diesel, biodiesel and blends, mixtures of diesel and alcohol and petroleum diesels with added cetane improver.

Media contacts:
Senator Campbell - Marianne McCabe (02) 6277 7640 or 0400 389 580

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