$2m grant for biomass to diesel project

renewable diesel

A project to convert woody biomass and plant-based agricultural residues into renewable diesel has been awarded a $2 million Clean Energy Future Fund (CEFF) grant from the Western Australia State Government.

The Narrogin Renewable Diesel Project was one of seven projects to share in more than $11 million funding in round 2 of the CEFF. The fund supports innovative clean energy projects and technologies with the potential to support reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The FutureEnergy Australia renewable diesel project is a joint venture between Carnarvon Energy and Frontier Impact Group, to build a high temperature pyrolysis plant in Narrogin.

The plant will convert sustainably sourced woody biomass such as ecological thinnings, oil mallees and plant-based agricultural residues and is expected to produce 18 million litres of renewable diesel per year, as well as biochar and wood vinegar.

Renewable diesel can replace conventional diesel without requiring modifications to diesel engines. It burns cleaner and has a lower emissions profile compared to conventional diesel. The produced renewable diesel also has the potential to be further refined into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

FutureEnergy Australia is investigating the opportunity to refine the high-quality biochar into graphene, which has a number of applications, including in the next generation of high-capacity, long-life, fast-charging batteries.

Adrian Cook, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Carnarvon said receiving a Clean Energy Future Fund grant for the project is acknowledgement of the benefits renewable diesel can bring to reducing carbon emissions and creating a carbon-neutral alternative fuel in Western Australia.

“Our project has the potential to transform the approach to fuel production. The additional products produced in the biorefining process, namely biochar and wood vinegar, are also expected to provide significant benefits across a number of industries,” he said.

Funds will be invested in project development, preliminary site works, engineering procurement, construction, and commissioning. The project is in the engineering phase.

Other successful projects to receive funding included $1.8 million to Advanced Energy Resources’ Castelli Moora Microgrid project to build a biomass, wind and battery microgrid incorporating existing solar generation and serving a piggery and citrus farm, and potentially other farms in Moora.

The seven projects are expected to invest $197 million, much of it in Western Australia; create up to 255 jobs during construction and provide 63 jobs operational jobs; generate 81,000 megawatt hours each year, enough to power 16,000 average WA homes; and avoid about 132,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year, or 2.4 million tonnes over their design lives.

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