'Incredible new industry': Yarwun plant's Australia-first
IT'S not what's on the outside but what's on the inside that makes the bobcats scooping waste at Northern Oil Refinery an Australian first.
The $16 million Yarwun pilot plant has started using diesel made out of waste to fuel a fleet of its bobcats, in another milestone for the four-year-old company.
While biofuels have been created and used in Australia before, managing director Tim Rose said Northern Oil's product was the first to be of the same grade and quality of diesel made from fossil fuels.
The diesel, which is fuelling the site's bobcats and soon other machinery, is made using a four-stage process, from turning a solid into a crude oil and refining it three times.
With the hope of using Northern Oil's diesel to one day fuel a fleet of US Navy ships, Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leanne Enoch said Queensland was on the verge of an "incredible new industry".
Ms Enoch, a former Gladstone State High School teacher, said the work at Northern Oil benefited the state and country because of its way to offset the Chinese Government's decision to stop importing waste.
"That (decision) has had some impact on the waste in Queensland but it creates a huge opportunity for us here ... we're looking at different forms of waste that can be used to create oil," she said.
"We'd like to be the state known as the place where we can create biofuels and we use biofuels.
"For me personally, from what I've see at Northern Oil, we have a huge opportunity to grow industries like these across the state and to diversify our economy."
Mr Rose said the company was incredibly proud in its creation of the diesel, comparable to what was made using fossil fuels.
"We import 96 per cent of our fuel in this country ... hence the opportunity," MrRose said.
"In terms of fuel security this is something we should've been doing a long time ago in my opinion."
The NSW man, who has a similar venture at Wagga Wagga called Southern Oil, said, while it was a commercial venture, everyone involved was excited about the business.
He said the Queensland Government's policies were "the best in Australia" and what attracted the company to do business in Gladstone.
Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said Northern Oil, which was launched in 2014, led the way in terms of bio-industries in Gladstone.
The company is also exploring ways to produce hydrogen out of the waste oil to export out of Gladstone Port to Japan.
"Hydrogen in Gladstone is going to be massive in the future," Mr Butcher said.