Australia’s first commercial scale renewable diesel facility — proposed to be built near Narrogin — is one step closer to becoming a reality after Future Energy Australia secured a $2 million State Government grant.

Carnarvon Energy Limited and Frontier Impact Group have partnered to launch a renewable diesel business called Future Energy Australia to help reduce their carbon footprint.

The company has secured a 65ha site 4km south of Narrogin where they plan to build a biorefinery facility where plant-based material would be converted into commercial volumes of renewable diesel, pending development approvals from the Shire.

The project would be the first commercial scale renewable diesel production facility in Australia with the capacity to produce 18 million litres of alternative fuel per year.

The $2 million grant was secured through round two of the State Government’s Clean Energy Future Fund which aims to support innovative clean energy projects and technologies.

FEA chairman Adrian Cook said the grant would accelerate the project towards feasibility and production, which is currently scheduled to start in late 2023.

“Our project has the potential to transform the approach to fuel production and use for individuals, business and organisations looking to reduce their carbon footprint,” he 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.

“We’re really excited to push forward with developing the refinery and implementing our technology, which has the ability to create a circular economy, regional employment opportunities and significant carbon emission reduction.”

The biorefinery would convert biomass such as construction waste, ecological thinnings and plant-based agricultural waste — including fire-affected wood — into renewable diesel.

The biomass would be sustainably sourced from within 150km of the facility and would be converted into diesel through a high-temperature pyrolysis process.

The renewable diesel could be used to replace conventional diesel without requiring modification to diesel engines and has a lower emissions profile.

“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,” FEA executive director Jennifer Lauber Patterson said.

“After more than a year of planning, development and stakeholder engagement, we have confirmed a site, are advanced in front-end engineering and design, and have feedstock and offtake agreements in train.

“We look forward to working with the Narrogin and nearby communities to make FEA’s biorefinery into a multi-generational, region building project.”

Agricultural Region MLC Shelley Payne said it was fantastic news for the region.

“Not only will the Narrogin Renewable Diesel Project play an important part in our clean energy future, it will also generate quality local jobs,” she said.

“It’s wonderful to see innovative clean energy projects being created and established right here in our community.”

Extracted in full from: Renewable diesel facility near Narrogin secures $2 million grant towards construction | The West Australian