the operator of Dalby’s ethanol plant, in southern Queensland, says it cannot afford to wait another 15 years for an ethanol mandate to be introduced in the state.

United Petroleum’s grains-to-ethanol plant has been operating at 50 per cent capacity and has been forced to shut down temporarily several times in the past year due to a lack of demand for its product.

The State Government is due to release a biofuels discussion paper next month, aiming to introduce a 50 per cent ethanol mandate by 2030.

Chief operating officer David Szymczak said he would like to see the mandate introduced sooner.

“Absolutely unviable, there is no ifs or buts there,” he said.

“At this point in time the way in which we’re operating is we’ve got faith and belief that the world will change and we will move towards an ethanol mandate and at the end of the day that will underpin the refinery.

“In the US, where ethanol is absolutely huge business, they have achieved a 10 per cent mandate across the whole of the US in about five or six years.

“So to talk about 2030 is something that is feasible and it’s great if we can work towards that.”