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Project overview
  • Lead Organisation

    Southern Oil Refining Pty Ltd


    Gladstone, Queensland

    ARENA Program

    Advancing Renewables Program

  • Start date

    23 April 2019

    End date

    30 September 2022

  • Project Partners
    Melbourne Water Corporation, Queensland Urban Utilities
    This renewables project has been discontinued.


Southern Oil Refining Pty Ltd aims to build and operate a demonstration scale hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) reactor to produce crude oil from biosolids (a by-product of treated wastewater) that will be capable of scaling up to commercial scale. The renewable crude oil will be upgraded to renewable diesel (and potentially jet fuel) using the existing facilities at the Northern Oil Refining facility in Gladstone, Queensland.

How the project works

This renewable crude oil project involves building and operating a one megalitre (ML) per annum demonstration scale HTL reactor and is expected to support the commercial business case to develop large-scale HTL reactors. This is with a view to producing a range of renewable fuel products on a competitive basis to fossil fuels. Read more about bioenergy and energy from waste.

Last updated
13 December 2022

Area of innovation

The project aims to advance the commercial readiness of the underlying technology and has good potential to create an end product that could be blended and/or directly distributed using existing petroleum infrastructure. It is an innovative design and the successful use of wastewater sludge as a feedstock could solve the disposal problem of biosolids from wastewater treatment. This process could also be replicated on a global scale.


The project aims to provide decarbonation in the transportation fuel sector while reducing the cost and environmental impact of waste generated in the municipal wastewater treatment industry.

Collaboration between the crude oil and wastewater industries will help grow the cross-industry nexus needed for the establishment of a new renewable energy in Australia.

Last updated 13 December 2022
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