Biofuels plant ready for kickstart, waits on Qld premier

PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk is on her second trip to America talking up the future of Queensland biofuels.

She has committed $20 million to fuel the $1 billion industry yet four months after a pilot plant was announced for Gladstone, it is still sitting on someone's desk in government.

In March the state government summoned the mastermind behind Gladstone's biofuels industry, Tim Rose, to announce his $16 million biofuels plant would be moved from Wagga Wagga to Yarwun, with a $3.5 million sweetener from them.

It was a big announcement. A new industry in Queensland that, if successful, will turn a pilot plant into a $150 million commercial plant that can fuel the US Navy, Australian Navy and commercial airline companies.

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The managing director of Southern Oil Refinery, Mr Rose, is at the ready.

The pilot plant is sitting at his Wagga Wagga site ready to be shipped. He has spent $200 million on lab equipment and despite the excitement from the government four months ago, is still waiting for the project to be approved. "We're just waiting for the starter's gun," he said.

"They asked for a fair bit of information."

The chemical engineer had to compile a 70-page report for the State Development Department and still has to go through the environment department.

He is buoyed however by Ms Palaszczuk's announcement on Sunday night of the Biofutures 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan along with a $20 million commitment to investment in the industry.

She announced the plan from San Francisco where she met with the US Navy, expected to be one of Southern Oil's customers.

The $20 million in the government's biofutures industry action plan will be spent in four ways:

$5 million for new biofuels industries to complete business model studies

$4 million to identify opportunities to fast track the growth of the industry

$5 million to up-scale the projects from research to commercialisation, and

$5 million for a government body in charge of the industry



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