The Hardwood Residue Bio-Refinery Feasibility Study explored the viability of converting hardwood sawmill residue into higher value energy products.
How the project works
Sawmill and forest residues accounts for a major under-utilised resource in the hardwood industry. The Hardwood Residue Bio-Refinery Feasibility Study explored the technical and financial viability of building a second generation Hardwood Residue Bio-refinery to convert this residue into renewable liquid fuels and industry feedstocks. The Hardwood Residue Bio-refinery feasibility project also explored the potential regulatory hurdles to developing bio-refineries in rural New South Wales.
The technology being explored has been developed by a Spanish-based technology company, Global Ecofuel Solutions SL.
Area of innovation
The Global Ecofuel Solutions SL technology uses low temperature and pressure mechanical catalytic conversion to break long chain hydrocarbon molecules into shorter chain liquid hydrocarbon products such as avgas, diesel and bitumen.
This is a highly specialised process and has yet to be developed into a full production scale facility.
ARENA worked closely with Boral Timber to assess elements of the Feasibility Study to develop a knowledge sharing portfolio on the progress and lessons learnt over the course of study.
The Feasibility Study could lead to the construction of a second generation biorefinery in rural NSW with the potential to convert up to 50,000 tonnes of sawmill residues from its Herons Creek hardwood sawmill, near Port Macquarie, into renewable diesel and bitumen.
The application of this technology has the potential to transform the way we use low value hardwood sawmill residues into a resource that could be highly valuable to industry.
Read more about bioenergy and energy from waste.
Boral Timber through undertaking the activities of the Feasibility Study have determined the following:
- The MECC process can successfully convert hardwood sawmill residues into a range of renewable energy and other industry feedstock products;
- The Renewable Diesel produced through the MECC plant with the appropriate post treatment satisfies the DRAFT Fuel Quality Standard (Automotive Diesel) Determination 2019 definition for Renewable Diesel;
- Laboratory testing shows that the Renewable Bituminous Products is blendable with fossil fuel derived bitumen for the production of asphalt;
- The Proof of Concept LCA report identifies that the renewable diesel has less than 25% of the carbon intensity of fossil fuel derived diesel; and
- The business case modelling shows that the project is financially viable on a preliminary capital estimate of ~$85M.
Turning sawmill scraps and sawdust into renewable diesel and bitumen sounds far fetched, but could soon become a reality under a plan by building and construction supplier Boral.Read more