Australia’s first commercial aviation fuel biorefinery will be built in Queensland’s Gladstone Development Area, as renewable investments continue to pour into the region.
The $500 million refinery is being built by Oceania Biofuels and will produce 350 million litres of aviation fuel and renewable diesel annually. To produce the fuels sustainably, the firm will use locally sourced animal fat and canola oil as well as waste cooking oil.
Construction of the plant in the Yarwun Industrial Precinct is expected to commence in January 2023 and should be producing for the domestic market by 2025. The Queensland government estimates that the project will directly create 60 jobs and support around 500 regional jobs during construction and operation.
The Queensland government’s biofuels roadmap and action plan aims to establish a $1 billion sustainable biotechnology and bioproducts sector by 2026. Acting Premier and Minister for Stated Development and Infrastructure Steven Miles said the project was a boost to the local community and state’s biofuel industry.
“This project, in addition to Northern Oil’s [$16 million] Advanced Biofuel Pilot Plant, is growing this emerging industry in Gladstone, and strengthens our work towards creating a sustainable, export-orientated industrial biotechnology sector for Queensland, fueling our economic future and contributing to our decarbonisation targets,” Mr Miles said.
“Queensland has a great opportunity to gain a strong international reputation as the location for biofuels production in the western pacific region and this new plant will signal to the world, we are ready.”
Oceania Biofuels chief executive officer Mike Everton said securing the development site at Gladstone was a huge milestone for the project.
“This is good news for Queensland and an exciting leap for Australia’s energy industry, creating regional jobs and a new export industry that will provide decarbonised fuel options for Australian industries. Gladstone is the ideal location for us as it has a highly skilled workforce and access to a deep-water port, furthering our export potential,” Mr Everton said.
Biofuels are considered sustainable in Queensland if they meet two sustainability criteria. Firstly, the projects must offer at least a 20 per cent saving on greenhouse gas emissions compared to regular petrol or diesel, regardless of the feedstock. Secondly, the feedstock specific environmental standards must be met, unless derived from waste material.
Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing Glenn Butcher added that the Oceania Biofuels development complemented the multitude of other new industries in Gladstone.
In particular, Mr Butcher highlighted Alpha HPA’s high purity alumina plant, Acciona’s Aldoga Solar Farm, the Stanwell Corporation’s renewable hydrogen facility and Fortescue Future Industries’ hydrogen equipment manufacturing hub.
On Tuesday, the Queensland government gave Coordinated Project status to a $4.7 billion green hydrogen and ammonia facility also being developed in Gladstone. This status makes it easier for Hydrogen Utility to submit the project for various regulatory assessments.
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