Northern Oil Advanced Biofuels Pilot Plant

The Northern Oil Advanced Biofuels Pilot Plant is an $18 million green fuel game changer being developed by Southern Oil Refining at its Northern Oil Refinery at Yarwun, near Gladstone, Queensland.

Scheduled to open in 2017, the pilot plant will use biomass material such as sugarcane bagasse and prickly acacia as feedstock for the production of bio crude 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 litres 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.

From trash to treasure

Following successful field trials a $150 million commercial-scale biofuel plant producing 200 million litres per annum of advanced biofuel suitable for military, marine and aviation use will be constructed.

This stage of the project will create hundreds of jobs and new industries across regional Queensland.

The commercial plant will require large feedstock volumes of what is currently considered to be ‘waste material’, including bagasse from sugar cane milling, green waste from regional cities, woody weeds like prickly acacia and other wastes such as tyres from the mining sector, heavy transport and passenger vehicles.

Leading the field in research and development

Southern Oil has 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 $2.37 million towards the cost of the $5.3 million state of the art laboratory, with Southern Oil financing the balance.