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Rebecca Yee & Dale Barnett • Dandenong
Biofuel Innovations was founded by Rebecca Yee and Dale Barnet who met studying Chemical Engineering at university where they discovered a mutual love for ‘integrating technology’.
Their business, Biofuel Innovations, develops technologies to process waste oil into useful resources such as biodiesel and other chemicals.
The genesis of the business was back in Dale’s beer brewing days.
He figured that similar processes to brewing beer could be used to process waste cooking oil into biodiesel.
He progressed to making biodiesel to run his cars, and the idea just snowballed.
Biofuel Innovations has subsequently developed integrating local waste recycling with local fuel production.
“When I look back from where we started just a short time ago, we’ve really come a long way,”
“Biodiesel is a sustainable fuel that is a direct alternative to fossil fuel diesel,” says Rebecca.
“It produces less toxic exhaust emissions and is made from waste.”
With an industrial background, Dale looks after the technical side of production – operations, engineering and process design.
The pair attributes their rapid business growth to their technical background and shared passions. Rebecca is a very keen entrepreneur and wants to learn everything she can. Both partners joke they wished they’d studied more accounting on top of engineering!
After working out the process at the back of a friend’s factory, they were awarded a small business grant from their local council – the Greater City of Dandenong. This grant helped the business lease a bigger site and to purchase equipment.
“We were able to move into our own purpose-built space. The Council also set us up with a business mentoring service that gave us some valuable advice about legal and financial issues we had no idea about. The council also advised us about compliance requirements, like insurance and planning permits.”
Rebecca describes the support as ‘key to take us to the next level.’
“When I look back from where we started just a short time ago, we’ve really come a long way,” says Rebecca.
“We’ve got the new factory, new equipment and technology – it’s really taken off!”
Into the future, Rebecca and Dale would love to see biodiesel integrated plants built locally – in businesses, in the community, in industry – all around Australia.
“The recycling industry is growing. If we can help reduce the amount of imported diesel, we’re helping the planet and building our own business.”
Rebecca and Dale’s three tips for other small business operators:
▶︎ Know your product but learn as much as you can about business skills so you can get your product to market effectively and run your own administration properly.
▶︎ Make connections and networks so you know what is out there – both in your industry and in business circles generally. Respect what other people know, even if it doesn’t appear to be directly related to your business.
▶︎ Work with people who complement your strengths. It provides great support and balance, and provides a whole new perspective for your business.
Find a grant on our website business.vic.gov.au.