The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) said on Thursday it is providing up to AUD 4 million (USD 3m/EUR 2.4m) in funding for a pilot project that will convert biosolids, a byproduct of wastewater treatment, into renewable crude oil.
The funding will go towards an AUD-11.8-million project of Southern Oil Refining at its refinery near Gladstone in Queensland. The company will build a demonstration-scale hydrothermal liquefaction reactor that will produce biocrude from biosolids. The renewable crude oil will then be upgraded to renewable diesel and potentially renewable jet fuel.
ARENA said that through sewage treatment Australia currently produces more than 300,000 tonnes of biosolids a year that are often stockpiled.
Southern Oil will use stockpiled biosolids at Melbourne Water's wastewater treatment facility at Werribee, Victoria, as well as biosolids from a local sewage treatment facility.
According to Tim Rose, managing director of Southern Oil Refining, ARENA will back the country's largest demonstration reactor using wastewater treatment biosolids to produce renewable crude oil. Rose added that the project is scalable and could lead to the production of hundreds of millions of litres of renewable fuel annually in Australia.
(AUD 1 = USD 0.743/EUR 0.634)
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