$2m Grant Assists Australian-First Commercial Renewable Diesel Plant

Frontier Impact Group has welcomed a State Government grant of $2 million towards the planning, construction and commissioning of a renewable diesel biorefinery near Narrogin in WA’s Wheatbelt region.

The project is being rolled out by joint venture partners Frontier Impact Group and Carnarvon Energy and is the first commercial-scale renewable diesel production facility in Australia.

The Future Energy Australia joint venture is focused on the development of more than 10 renewable diesel biorefineries across Western Australia, expecting to result in $1.5b investment and the creation of over 1,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Frontier Impact Group Managing Director Jennifer Lauber Patterson said the Clean Energy Future Fund (CEFF) grant would assist Future Energy Australia to accelerate the pilot project towards production, scheduled to commence in late 2023.

“Our project has the potential to underpin fuel security in the regions as well as assist businesses and the community to reduce their carbon footprint,” Ms Lauber Patterson said.

“Many Australians would be astounded to know the nation only carries around 21 days of fuel reserves at any one time and that reserves in Australia have in practice been well below these levels.

“This project offers an opportunity for the regions to become more sustainable and resilient,” Ms Lauber Patterson said.

The benefits are not exclusive to fuel users, with additional by-products produced in the biorefining process such as biochar and wood vinegar providing important soil improvement opportunities to the agricultural sector.

“This is an acknowledgement of the clear benefits renewable diesel can bring to reducing carbon emissions and creating a carbon-neutral alternative fuel in regional Western Australia,” Ms Lauber Patterson said.

“We are looking forward to continuing to develop our relationships in the Narrogin and nearby communities to make Future Energy Australia’s biorefinery into a multi-generational, region-building project.”

Funding provided by the CEFF will be invested towards project development, financial close, preliminary site works, construction and commissioning of the first of four biorefining modules.

Once built, the biorefinery will convert sustainably sourced woody biomass such as construction waste, ecological thinnings and plant-based agricultural waste into renewable diesel using high-temperature pyrolysis.

The product can then be used as an alternative drop-in replacement to conventional diesel. Renewable diesel has a higher cetane rating and produces lower emissions compared to conventional diesel.