In a game-changer for Queensland, Australia’s first commercial-scale advanced biofuel plant was officially opened in Gladstone, Queensland on June 1st, Southern Oil Managing Director Tim Rose said in a press release.
The A$16mn (USD11.9mn) Northern Oil Advanced Biofuels Pilot Plant (NOABPP) is a joint venture between Southern Oil, a company who have been re-refining waste products for over 16 years, and J.J. Richards & Sons, Australia’s largest privately owned waste management company. The joint venture’s aim is to produce renewable fuels using a variety of waste products as feedstocks.
Over the coming months the pilot plant will experiment with different waste products to convert to renewable fuels. Materials under consideration for usage include tyres, plastics, wood waste, prickly acacia, sugarcane trash and bagasse, and urban and agricultural green waste such as macadamia shells.
NOABPP is scheduled to be fully operational later this year and is aiming for production of 1mn litres of fuel over the next three years to be used by the Australian and US navy. Plans are also afoot to upgrade the plant to an A150mn (USD112mn) facility with capacity of over 200mn litres of advanced biofuel annually, Southern Oil Managing Director Tim Rose said.
Together with a A$5.3mn (USD3.9mn) bio crude and biofuel laboratory which opened on site last December, NOABPP is expected to be a significant economic and employment contributor to the region, added Rose.
Queensland was chosen as the location for the biofuel plant due to the state’s vision for the biofuels industry over the coming years, as well as financial incentives. While Rose believes the launch of the plant could not have come at a better time in Australia, the biofuels industry down under has come under scrutiny over recent months. The Productivity Commission suggested in a report recently that all biofuel mandates and other measures designed to support the biofuel industry should be scrapped by the end of 2018, arguing that support for the biofuels industry has increased costs for consumers while delivering little to no environmental benefits.