Northern Oil Refinery process engineer Janri Potgieter and general manager Ray Carson.
Northern Oil Refinery process engineer Janri Potgieter and general manager Ray Carson. Mike Richards GLA111116NORY

WATCH: Locals score jobs in construction of $16m biofuels plant

THE groundwork has started to house critical equipment at Yarwun's $16 million biofuels pilot plant, the first of its kind in the world.

With construction on earthworks, concrete flooring and protective structure, the project leaders and employees are a step closer to being world leaders in the biofuels industry.

The pilot plant will test new technology to turn green and tyre waste into crude oils, suitable for military and industrial use.

The 28 employees at the Northern Oil Advanced biofuels Pilot Plant have begun construction for stage one of the project.

If successful, the Yarwun site will be home to a $150 million biofuel plant, which will almost triple its workforce once operational.

Northern Oil Refinery general manager Ray Carson said there had been interest from the US Navy, Australian Defence Force and heavy industry, all keen to use their fuel.

Mr Carson said once the biofuel was accepted by both navies, it would open the door to a commercial-scale refinery, capable of meeting the ADF's needs and provide green fuel opportunities for aviation and other heavy transport industries.

Yesterday, while unveiling the work done so far Mr Carson said it was an exciting project for the Gladstone region.

"We will be ahead of the game and world leading in this field," he said.

There will be 12 different plants in Queensland that will create the feedstock for the drop-in biofuels plant in Gladstone.

The 12 plants will vary between green waste, with sites including Bundaberg, Rockhampton and Mackay, and other waste tyre sites.

"Gladstone is strategically placed to accept the waste material and to be processed on site ... we have the resources to do that here," Mr Carson said.

"The Northern Oil Advanced biofuels Pilot Plant will bring together all the equipment and technology required to produce biocrude and refine renewable fuels - a project that will be a game changer for Queensland and a significant economic and employment contributor to the region." Mr Carson said construction of the pilot plant would continue for the next four to five months and was scheduled to be commissioned in April 2017.



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