Mercurius CEO Karl Seck (centre) was at Gladstone's Northern Oil yesterday with plans to build a biorefinery pilot project later this year.
Mercurius CEO Karl Seck (centre) was at Gladstone's Northern Oil yesterday with plans to build a biorefinery pilot project later this year.

Another biorefinery project in the pipeline for Gladstone

JET fuel and diesel made from sugarcane waste could be the next development in Gladstone's growing affiliation with renewable energy projects.

American biorefining company, Mercurius has plans to build pilot plants in Gladstone and Mackay later this year to test different elements of the bio-manufacturing process.

It then hopes to build a larger demonstration plant at Gladstone.

Mercurius CEO, Karl Seck travelled to Gladstone yesterday after viewing results of the latest scientific testing of cutting-edge patented biotechnology, in partnership with Queensland University of Technology and Northern Oil.

Mr Seck said the aim was a triple bottom line of economic success, positive environmental outcomes and climate change mitigation.

"We're looking to Gladstone as central to our plans, as the hub of the wheel in the commercial stage of processing and distribution," he said.

"Mercurius biorefining has developed patented technology called REACH, which aims to significantly reduce the cost of manufacturing renewable diesel, jet fuel and other bio products.

"We selected Queensland after a global search of potential locations as an excellent location to build a biorefinery, due to its favourable business climate, extensive agricultural industry and world-class universities.

"Although validation processes are not yet concluded, results to date are positive and in line with expectations."

Director of QUT's Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, Professor Sagadevan Mundree said the technology could be applied to any type of biomass, such as agricultural residues, which Queensland has in abundant supply.

"The patented technology is simple and efficient and can utilise equipment from existing industries, which can result in relatively low capital and operating costs," he said.

The project has the full support of the State Government, which attracted Mercurius to Queensland through the Biofutures Acceleration Program.

The program is supporting the company to undertake a scientific validation program and feasibility study with respect to its patented REACH™ technology.

State Development Minister, Cameron Dick said the project was another step towards achieving Queensland's vision for a $1 billion sustainable, export-oriented biotechnology and bioproducts sector.

"Over the longer term, based on performance of the pilot and demonstration projects, the company plans to seek out further Queensland regional locations to build up to five commercial scale biorefineries," he said.

"Not only are the combined biorefinery pilot and demonstration plants slated to initially produce 4.5 tonnes of renewable diesel and jet fuel annually at demonstration plant stage, these projects are also expected to attract an investment value of $11 million and around 50 jobs.

"This is fantastic news for Queensland's sugarcane regions because we know this means high-value job creation and investment opportunities, as well as increasing our state's growing reputation globally as an ideal location to build a biorefinery."

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