Global interest in Gladstone's new $16m bio-industry

THE $16 million biofuel project at Yarwun is gaining national and world attention from experienced companies looking for their next big construction project.

More than 100 companies have lodged Expressions of Interest to build the 12 commercial-scale biorefineries across Queensland.

Michael McCormack mp, Ken O'Dowd mp and Tim Rose, managing director Northern Oil Refineries.
Michael McCormack mp, Ken O'Dowd mp and Tim Rose, managing director Northern Oil Refineries. Mike Richards GLA111216NOIL

The refineries, worth $20 million each, will process raw materials such as agricultural and industrial waste, tyres and macadamia nuts, before it is turned into diesel at the Yarwun Northern Oil Advanced Biofuels Pilot Plant.

The EOI process is the next step in making Gladstone a leader in the biofuel industry, with the pilot plant expected to be operational by May.

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Northern Oil, run by Wagga Wagga company Southern Oil, are creating the nation's first biocrude and biofuel laboratory at Yarwun.

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The company's managing director Tim Rose said he expected interest in the project, but not from more than 100 companies.

"I think it's been a great response," Mr Rose said.

"I didn't think it would be anywhere near 100, so that's fantastic."

Mr Rose said two companies would be chosen to construct the 12 refineries which could be located at Mackay, Townsville, Cairns, Bundaberg, Rockhampton and Emerald.

WATCH: Northern Oil Advanced Biofuels Laboratory opening:

Each refinery will employ 10-20 people to process the materials.

Across the state Mr Rose said the whole project would create more than 200 jobs.

"The biggest winner will be Gladstone because that's where the central refinery will be built," Mr Rose said.

Once commissioned, the pilot plant will fuel ships for the US Navy for three years.

Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher said the Palaszczuk Government's Biofutures Acceleration Program had already allocated almost $20 million in funding over three years to support the 10-year biofutures plan.

"(Gladstone) is at the centre of the biofuel industry in Queensland," Mr Butcher said.

"I'm excited about the future of this industry and having it in our backyard ... This is the start of something that has very big potential for creating great opportunities for us here in Gladstone."

Minister for state development Dr Anthony Lynham said said the lucrative biofuel market was key to creating future job opportunities and investment in regional Queensland.

Dr Lynham said by late last week 100 parties had downloaded the Expression of Interest documents from the Department of State Development's website for biorefineries construction work.

"The Palaszczuk Government's vision is to create a $1 billion sustainable export-oriented industrial biotechnology and bioproducts sector in Queensland by 2026," Dr Lynham said.

"The global market for industrial biotech and bioproducts is expected to be worth $1.1 trillion by 2022 and Queensland is well position to take advantage of this growing industry."

The pilot plant is expected to arrive in April this year and be commissioned in May.

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