Katunga renewable diesel plant one step closer

By Sophie Baldwin

A plan to establish a $2 billion renewable diesel plant in Katunga by developers AgBioEn is one step closer to reality.

The company says it is in the final stages of planning and hopes construction will begin before the end of the year.

AgBioEn chairman Charles Hunting said 1000 new jobs would be created by the end of phase two of the development.

‘‘We plan on producing 200million litres of liquid fuel annually from 600 000 tonnes of biomass — basically feed stock will go in one side and fuel will come out the other,’’ Mr Hunting said.

He said conversations with the community and Moira Shire Council had been positive.

‘‘Katunga is in a great area for feed stock and because it is part of the food bowl, transport is not a problem.

‘‘We have also found a great partner in Katunga Fresh who can use the energy from us to lower their cost of production.’’

Katunga Fresh owner Peter Van Den Goor said the development would allow his business to expand and provide an alternative to natural gas and increasing energy costs.

‘‘Over the last three years our energy costs have doubled, which has been a huge barrier for us moving forward, along with the availability of natural gas,’’ Mr Vandengoor said.

Katunga Fresh currently employs 120 people on 16ha and Mr Van Den Goor said the development would allow him to double production.

‘‘I am feeling very confident. The technology is proven to work and I hope the community gets behind the idea,’’ he said.

‘‘Katunga has struggled with impacts from a declining dairy industry and this development provides a real win for the community, not just in farming jobs but through employment of technicians and other skilled labour which has been lost to the area.’’