A petroleum company will start up operations again in southern Queensland’s Darling Downs region.
United Petroleum has reopened its Dalby Bio-Refinery, 88km northwest of Toowoomba. The operation will each day manufacture up to 150,000 litres of industrial-grade ethanol.
More than 83 per cent of the product will be used for hand sanitiser, hand wash and surface disinfectant products that will be sold to help customers protect themselves from the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
Dozens of jobs
More than 40 employees, who were stood down on leave from February 24, will return to the job. New positions will be advertised on the proponent’s careers website.
The bio-refinery used to make fuel grade ethanol and high value animal feed according to United chief operating officer David Szymczak.
“The drought dramatically impacted the availability of the grain and sorghum we needed to produce our ethanol product,” he said in a public statement.
“Our animal feed products kept us operating for a while but, when the drought broke, demand for feed dried up, and a ready-supply of sorghum wasn’t available, forcing us to temporarily shut our doors. The Queensland Government has been a very supportive, assisting us with critical supply-chain needs so we can reopen.”
Government steps in
The State Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning is also helping the proponent find suitable chemicals for carrying out the new production process to produce high grade, industrial ethanol.
“We have also been assisting to put them in touch with businesses who are in short supply of industrial ethanol, or those who can use the ‘tops and tails’ distillation by-product, such as distillers, making sure everyone’s needs are met,” State Manufacturing Minister Cameron Dick said in a public statement.
“It is critically important that supply chains do not have any gaps and can continue to operate to manufacture critical products which we need right now.”