NORTH POISED TO BECOME BIOFUEL GIANT
Refinery to service US ‘ green fleet’
NORTH Queensland is set to become a sustainable energy hub, with plans under way for the development of a biofuels refinery in the region and a solar power project in Collinsville.
A biofuels business has floated plans to develop a project in the North, costing between $ 100 million and $ 150 million.
Meanwhile, Ratch Australia’s $ 100 million solar farm project is back on track in Collinsville after being put on hold last year.
PLANS are under way for a biofuels refinery in North Queensland capable of fuelling aircraft and US Navy ships and set to create thousands of jobs in the region.
A leading biofuels business wants to develop an advanced biofuels project in the North, costing between $ 100 million and $ 150 million.
It comes after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk last month met Pentagon staff to discuss using biofuel for the US Navy’s carrier strike group, tipped to deploy next year.
The force – dubbed the Great Green Fleet – is part of the US Navy’s push to power half of its fleet with alternative fuels by 2020.
CommAg Ltd, a Townsville- based not- for- profit agribusiness incubator, says it has lured a biofuels technology business to develop a refinery capable of meeting the needs of the new fleet.
“We hope to unveil this new regional partner in the very near future,” CommAg director Warwick Powell said.
“This company utilises leading technologies targeting the production of substitute or drop- in fuels for aviation, maritime and heavy industrial applications.
“They are already working with the likes of Virgin, GE and Airbus as well as the Australian Defence Force to achieve the standards necessary to meet these needs.”
Mr Powell said his group would present a proposal to the State Government within the next four months, and the project could be built within the next four years. “By 2020 there
By 2020 there could be a substantial biofuels industry in Townsville and that’s pretty exciting
COMMAG LTD DIRECTOR WARWICK POWELL
could be a substantial biofuels industry in Townsville and that’s pretty exciting,” Mr Powell said.
He said the Burdekin or Ingham would be ideal locations to establish the refinery. He said the project would complement the three ethanol projects planned for the region in Ingham, Burdekin and Pentland. The Queensland Government has committed to implementing a petrol ethanol mandate.
Mr Powell said his organisation was calling on the Government to support a 10 per cent ethanol mandate, saying that would deliver the kind of certainty needed to se- cure finance for the ethanol projects.
Port of Townsville chief executive Ranee Crosby said North Queensland was perfectly placed to establish a biofuels industry.
She said there was an opportunity for the port to share a facility with the Australian Defence Force to meet the US Navy’s needs.
“It plays to all the strengths we’ve got in the region. It’s only going to become an increasing way of the future and we should get on board early and present our face, which we are starting to do,” she said.
Last month, Ms Palaszczuk, who was in the US as part of a trade mission, said she had received “key signals” from the US Navy that they were willing to consider a deal for Queensland to supply their ships with alternative biofuels.
Talks were in the early stages, but the Premier named Mackay and Gladstone, along with Townsville, as potential future sites for a biofuel production plant as part of an “alliance” with the US Navy.