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Northern Oil advanced biofuels pilot plant opening

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Southern Oil has announced that Queensland Premier, the Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, will officially open the Northern Oil advanced biofuels pilot plant in Gladstone on 1 June 2017. The $18 million project brings together all the equipment and technology needed to produce biocrude and to refine renewable fuels.

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. The Northern Oil Advanced Biofuels Pilot Plant is a AUS$16 million green fuel game changer being developed by Southern Oil Refining at its Northern Oil Refinery at Yarwun, near Gladstone, Queensland.

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. Within three years of opening, the pilot plant aims to have produced one million l of fuel for use in field trials by the US navy as part of its Great Green Fleet initiative, by the Australian Defence Force, by Australian heavy road transport operators and possibly for the aviation sector.

The pilot plant aligns with the objectives of the Queensland Government’s Biofutures Roadmap and Action Plan; stimulating an industrial biotechnology revolution in the state. Southern Oil continues to drive innovation in this space, and has partnered with the Queensland University of Technology to fund research into the production of industrial products from by products generated during biofuel and recycled oil production.

Southern Oil has also built Australia’s first biocrude and biofuel laboratory as part of the Northern Oil advanced biofuels pilot plant. The laboratory is an important step in developing product specifications for Australian biocrude and refined renewable fuels, paving the way for an open market, and provides Australian biofuels innovators with domestic testing of product samples – saving time and money.

Ultimately the laboratory will help to determine whether a compelling business case can be made to build a commercial scale biorefinery to produce renewable diesel and jet fuels. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) contributed AUS$2.37 million towards the cost of the AUS$5.3 million state of the art laboratory, with Southern Oil financing the balance.

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