A Queensland biofuels plant is researching whether they can convert plastic, tyres and an invasive weed into diesel and energy.
The Southern Oil plant currently has been able to turn softwood plantation waste and macadamia nut shells into a renewable fuel source.
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Environment and Science Minister Leeanne Enoch said the facility had so far used four waste-based products and refined it into fuel, and that another seven waste products would be tested.
“This project is amazing, and is leading the way to a sustainable fuel future for Queensland,” Ms Enoch said.
“Now they are going test another seven waste-based products, and woody material from an invasive plant known as the prickly acacia – also a Weed of National Significance – has been prioritised as the next feedstock to be refined into saleable kerosene and diesel products,” she said.
“Other products the Plant are planning to convert into renewable diesel and energy include plastics, wood waste and tyres.”
Laboratory research has begun to refine the renewable crude into jet fuels and lubricants.
Queensland’s Biofuture Envoy Professor Ian O’Hara complemented Southern Oil on the technical advancements taking place.
“To be able to produce renewable biocrude generated from different waste streams, and then apply pilot scale distillation and hyrdotreatment on site to create a certified fuel is a great accomplishment,” Professor O’Hara said.
Southern Oil’s Managing Director Tim Rose said Queensland’s emerging renewable fuel industry was not just good for the environment but also good for Queensland’s economy – with significant benefits flowing through to regional Queensland.
“While we have invested heavily in a world class laboratory and cutting edge technology to produce a certified fuel, we have also invested heavily in independent economic modelling around the availability, aggregation and logistics of available waste streams in Queensland,” he said.
“We intend to establish regional hubs where the waste is generated, to produce our renewable crude. The crude will then be transported from across Queensland to the Gladstone Renewable Fuel Refinery.
“So new regional industries creating new jobs and new market opportunities. The numbers add up. It’s a viable and scalable business proposition.”