A $16 million advanced biofuels pilot plant will be built at Southern Oil Refining’s Yarwun site at Gladstone, with potential to expand to a $150 million commercial-scale refinery.
Announcing the plans today, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Northern Oil Advanced Biofuels Pilot Plant represented an exciting step in the development of an advanced biofuels industry for Queensland.
“This pilot plant is essentially the launch site for a Queensland biofuels industry. If we can develop this plant into a large-scale refinery, that’ll mean jobs here in Gladstone, but it could also kick off a new wave of investment and job creation across Queensland,” she said.
“And with the Government’s help, we have managed to get this investment out of New South Wales and into Queensland – something I’m keen to see more of.”
The pilot plant is expected to be operational by later this year and within the next three years aims to have produced one million litres of fuel for use in field trials by the US navy as part of its Great Green Fleet initiative, and also by the Australian Navy.
It will use material such as sugarcane bagasse and possibly prickly acacia as feedstock for the production of bio crude oil, which will then be distilled into saleable kerosene and diesel products.
Southern Oil Refining managing director Tim Rose said he was delighted to announce his company’s decision to locate the biofuel pilot plant in Gladstone.
“For the past few months, we have been assessing whether to site this important piece of technology at our Wagga Wagga plant in New South Wales or at our new re-refinery in Gladstone,” Mr Rose said.
“Our decision was made easier with the announcement of the Queensland Government’s Bio Futures Roadmap which is the only forward-thinking policy in Australia in this critical area. This demonstration plant will be a big step towards creating a clean transportation future.”
Southern Oil Refining currently operates a waste lube oil re-refining plant at Yarwun in the Gladstone State Development Area as a joint venture with JJ Richards & Sons.
The $70 million plant is the only waste lube oil re-refining facility in Queensland, and has the potential to process all of the State’s 100 million litres annually of waste lube oil.