Apr 07, 2016

Prospects for regional Queensland from new biofuels plant

Prospects for regional Queensland from new biofuels plant The finished product – international-standard base oil created from a waste product.

A dozen regional and rural centres in Queensland have been identified as possible sources of feedstock for a new biofuels plant.

Mount Isa, Townsville, Clermont and Roma are under consideration as sites for primary processing plants to produce liquid feedstock for the Gladstone plant.

The $16 million biofuels pilot plant being developed by Southern Oil at its Northern Oil Refinery at Yarwun, near Gladstone, is scheduled to open in late 2016 and is the next step towards a $150 million, commercial-scale biofuel plant.

Within the next three years, the pilot plant aims to have produced one million litres of fuel for use in field trials which include the U.S. and Royal Australian Navies.

Once the biofuel was accepted by both navies it would open the door to a commercial-scale refinery, Southern Oil managing director Tim Rose said.

“Queensland will be a world leader in this space,” Mr Rose said.

Mr Rose said the company’s decision to locate its biofuels future in Queensland was influenced by the government’s support for the industry and by the wide range of feedstock sources.

“Regional Queensland is ideally placed to provide the volume of raw feedstock that we will need if we move to a commercial-scale facility to produce 200 million litres of advanced biofuel annually,” Mr Rose said.

“We will require large volumes of what is currently considered to be ‘waste material’ as the feedstock for our plant, including bagasse from sugar cane milling, green waste from regional cities, woody weeds like prickly acacia and other wastes such as tyres from the mining sector, heavy transport and passenger vehicles.

“Southern Oil has identified 12 areas, outside of Brisbane, where we will likely need to locate primary processing plants to convert the raw materials into liquid for transport to our Gladstone refinery.”

Mr Rose said the 12 areas included the Cairns region (sugar cane waste), the Tully/Innisfail region (sugar cane waste), Herbert River mill/Ingham region (sugar cane waste), Townsville region (green waste), Burdekin region (sugar cane waste), Mount Isa (waste tyres from mining, prickly acacia), Hughenden or Richmond (prickly acacia), Mackay region (sugar cane waste), Clermont region (waste tyres from mining), Rockhampton region (green waste), Bundaberg region (sugar cane waste) and Roma or Toowoomba region (waste tyres from mining). Brisbane would be a 13th primary processing site, for green waste and waste tyres.

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