A recent trade mission to the United States discussed plans to expand Gladstone’s biorefining industry with a pilot plant to turn sugarcane fibre into renewable fuel.
Minister for State Development Cameron Dick’s July trip report showed he met with Mercurius Biorefinery to talk about the company’s plans for a pilot plant in Gladstone.
Mercurius Biorefining’s subsidiary Mercurius Australia plans to develop the plant as the next step towards an $11million biorefinery project.
Mercurius Biorefining is involved in producing diesel, jet fuel and “green” chemicals from waste biomass such as sugarcane bagasse.
The report said Mr Dick highlighted the state’s new round of the Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship, which contains funding specifically for biofutures-related proposals.
During the meeting they also discussed potential partnerships with Northern Oil Biorefinery in Yarwun, Queensland University of Technology and Mitsubishi Gas Chemicals.
MP Glenn Butcher said Gladstone was getting recognised by renewable and biorefinery industries worldwide.
He said Southern Oil’s investigation of ways to create hydrogen from waste at the Yarwun refinery was a key factor in attracting companies including Mercurius to build in Gladstone.
“It’s great to see other companies are now looking to come to Gladstone,” Mr Butcher said.
“There are four or five other hydrogen-related companies looking to come and start here in Gladstone so it’s exciting stuff.”
The value of a growing hydrogen industry was explained by renewable energy group ARENA in a report released this week – Opportunities for Australia from Hydrogen Exports.
It said the direct economic contribution of hydrogen production for export was estimated to be between $201million and $903million by 2030.
It said the contribution to the economy was mainly made wages and gross profits of the producers and exporters.
“If the above outcomes of the hydrogen scenarios are realised, the business of supplying global hydrogen demand is likely to be a substantial one,” it said.