Trust the Aussies to do something different. What you’re looking at here is a ‘standard’ 50kW DC electric vehicle fast charger. What makes the Biofil different is the fact that it’s hooked up to a biodiesel electric generator. Which uses the waste cooking fat from the service station (or rest stop for you Americans) fryers to do the deed. The problem is simple. Many of Australia’s roadside restaurants are so remote they’re off grid, which makes it hard to offer charging to the growing EV population on long trips.
The solution may sound counterintuitive, but it’s practical. If you’ve got to make electricity in remote areas, what better than to make it from a waste oil? And before you start asking about solar power, the problem is the cost to charge multiple cars all day – in panels and batteries – is pretty big. These biodiesel chargers integrate some pretty standard components to make things work. Including using humble oil drums to store and ‘settle’ the fryer fat before using it in the generators.
The developer, Jon Edwards, has sunk A$400,000 of his own money into the project and says that the numbers all work out.
“So, to do complete a 50kWh EV charge would take around 18 litres of waste oil,” he says. “My experience so far is that most EVs charge sessions are around 25kWh or 9 litres of waste oil. The Caltex site at Jurien Bay (where this Biofil is currently located) produces about 55 litres of waste oil per week, or equivalent to about 6 EV charges.”
The Biofil units are mounted on skid pallets, which can be installed in around 10 minutes with a forklift, and Edwards’ company is currently planning to offer them on a loan basis to make it easier for roadside owners to deploy. And of course it’s a great story for the environment, to use recycled oil to power the transport of the future. Definitely an idea worth watching. More info can be found here.