The good oil: Gladstone plant will turn animal fat into fuel
Robyn Wuth |
Animal fat, used cooking oil and canola will be transformed into a sustainable fuel for planes and vehicles in an Australian-first project in central Queensland.
The Oceania Biofuels plant will be built in the Yarwun Industrial Precinct in Gladstone, where it will convert feedstocks sourced from the east coast into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
The team behind the project has been quietly working behind the scenes for more than two years, says company CEO Mike Everton.
The plant will manufacture a renewable fuel that is chemically similar to petroleum diesel but is 100 per cent sustainable.
Conventional fossil fuels are made from crude oil removed from the ground, transported to a refinery, and purified.
Renewable diesel is made from natural fats, vegetable oils, and greases, and the final product is chemically identical to conventional diesel.
The privately backed company is working closely with government regulators and expects to begin construction in 2023.
“Australia at the moment exports the best part of a million tonnes of renewable feedstock all around the world,” Mr Everton said.
The company zeroed in on Gladstone as the ideal site to manufacture and export product.
Oceania Biofuels primary market will be the west coast of the United States where carbon reduction mandates are in place for airlines.
Renewable diesel accounts for 23 per cent of aviation fuel in California, almost nearly half of which is imported.
Other states across the US and Canadian airlines also are expected to introduce clean fuel standard carbon reduction mandates.
“All of the major airlines around the world talking about their SAF requirements and their blend of one per cent to two per cent to 10, and they want to get to 50. They want to be net-zero by 2050.”
Negotiations are under way with markets in the US and Europe, with the first 360 million litres already earmarked for the international market.
However, he says there is not enough SAF production to meet demand, and this is just the first step on a long journey for biofuel development.
“I can’t tell you in 30 years what the technology will be, but it will be different. I guarantee without a shadow of a doubt that it will be different.
“But today, we’ve got something that works, and we need to embrace it the best way we can.”
The plant is being designed to operate on a zero-waste production model using green electricity, renewable hydrogen and carbon offsets.
Construction is due to begin in the first quarter of 2023 and the project is expected to create 60 direct and 500 indirect jobs.
The plant hopes to roll out the first SAF shipment by 2025.AAP