Australia's Boral to study making renewable diesel from sawmill residue

Sawdust. Author: Andreanna Moya Photography. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

August 28 (Renewables Now) - Australian building materials company Boral Ltd (ASX:BLD) will assess the feasibility of building the world's first biorefinery converting sawmill residues into renewable diesel and renewable bitumen, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) said last week.

ARENA is providing up to AUD 500,000 (USD 368,000/EUR 314,000) towards the AUD-1.2-million study, which will be conducted by Boral Timber, a subsidiary of Boral.

The study could lead to the construction of a AUD-50 million biorefinery near the Boral Timber Hardwood Sawmill at Herons Creek near Port Macquarie, New South Wales. The biorefinery could turn up to 50,000 tonnes of waste sawmill residue -- sawdust, remnant woodchips, shavings and offcuts -- produced each year into transport-grade renewable diesel and bitumen, ARENA said. According to Wayne Manners of Boral, the renewable diesel produced at the potential new facility could eventually meet up to 15% of the company's annual diesel needs.

"If this ground-breaking technology is successful, we hope to see a transition to similar biorefineries by other companies which have a waste stream in forestry or agriculture," commented ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknech.

The study will consider a mechanical catalytic conversion technology, developed by Spanish-based Global Ecofuel Solutions SL.

(AUD 1 = USD 0.735/EUR 0.628)

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Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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