THE launch of a commercial scale advanced biofuels pilot plant places Queensland on the cusp of a new biofuel production-based industry, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said today.
Speaking from Gladstone where the Premier officially opened the $18 million Northern Oil Advanced Biofuels Pilot Plant in Yarwun, Ms Palaszczuk said she welcomed the investment by NSW company Southern Oil to establish the plant in Queensland.
“This plant is the start of a whole new industry for Queensland. It will take agricultural waste such as bagasse from sugar production and turn it into biofuels,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“It offers to create sustainable jobs and deliver a new source of power that would have a minimum impact on our precious environment. We still have a long way to go to establish an internationally-competitive biofuels industry, but today is a significant milestone on that journey.”
According to Southern Oil’s website the pilot plant will convert waste products into renewable diesel and energy, including from plastics, wood waste, waste tyres, sugar cane, green waste and macadamia shells. Once operational the pilot plant will use biomass material such as sugarcane bagasse and prickly acacia as feedstock for the production of biocrude oil, which will be refined into saleable kerosene and diesel products.
Southern Oil Refining already operates a waste lube oil re-refining plant. The company employs 45 full-time equivalent.
Ms Palaszczuk said that the Queensland Government had a vision for a $1 billion sustainable, export-oriented biofuels sector.
“Since coming to office, my Government has formulated a 10-year action plan and roadmap to grow the industry and committed nearly $20 million to develop the biotechnology sector,” she said.
At the opening, a representative of the Burdekin Canegrowers signed a memorandum of understanding with Southern Oil to take some of their bagasse to convert it into biofuels.