Zero Petroleum sets sights on South Australia for synthetic fuel plant
Photo courtesy of Zero Petroleum

Zero Petroleum sets sights on South Australia for synthetic fuel plant

Zero Petroleum, a UK-based company that specializes in the development of synthetic fuels, has announced a partnership with the South Australian government to explore the establishment of a synthetic fuel plant in the region. This collaboration was formalised through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at identifying investment opportunities within South Australia.

Zero Petroleum was co-founded by Paddy Lowe, a former technical director at Williams, McLaren, and Mercedes Formula 1ยฎ teams, and Professor Nilay Shah from Imperial College London, a leading academic in the field of chemical engineering. Their collaboration brings together expertise from the worlds of high-performance motorsport engineering and sustainable chemical process engineering.

The company has established partnerships with industry giants such as Boeing, Rolls Royce, and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and recently became the first synthetic fuel producer to partner with a Formula 1ยฎ team.

The announcement came on the heels of Zero Petroleum’s impressive showcase at the Adelaide Motorsport Festival, where a motorcycle powered by the company’s synthetic fuel demonstrated its capabilities around Victoria Park. Synthetic fuels, unlike conventional fossil fuels, are manufactured using renewable resources, marking a significant step towards reducing carbon emissions.

Zero Petroleum is eyeing the rapid development of a commercial-scale synthetic fuel plant in South Australia, with hopes to commence production by 2026. The proposed facility plans to leverage Zero’s cutting-edge technology alongside green hydrogen, renewable power, and carbon capture techniques to produce fossil-free fuels compatible with existing combustion engines. This includes applications ranging from high-performance vehicles to transport infrastructure and aviation.

A critical component of the proposed plant’s operation is green hydrogen, aligning with the South Australian Government’s Hydrogen Jobs Plan under the State Prosperity Project. The plant aims to produce between six to 12 million litres of carbon-neutral gasoline, jet, and diesel fuel annually, potentially reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 60,000 tonnes each year.

The project promises substantial economic benefits for the local community, including the creation of more than150 construction jobs and up to 30 full-time positions for plant operations and commercial roles. It also anticipates a demand for a broad spectrum of engineering services, technicians, and trades.

Lowe expressed enthusiasm about the potential collaboration, citing South Australia’s leadership in renewable energy and green hydrogen economy. โ€œThe Government of South Australia has transformed the region into a global hub of renewable solar and wind power development, and Zero is excited by the prospect of joining its thriving green hydrogen economy,โ€ said Lowe.

Apart from Zero Petroleum’s plans for a synthetic fuel plant in South Australia, there are other initiatives in Australia focusing on synthetic and green fuels.

EnergyAustralia’s Tallawarra B Plant: This facility is the first dual-fuel gas-and-hydrogen power plant in Australia, capable of adding significant clean energy capacity to the grid. It represents a step towards integrating hydrogen as a clean fuel source for power generation.

Mabanaft’s Green Methanol Plant in Port Augusta: Hamburg, Germany-based Mabanaft has received approval to build a new green methanol plant in Port Augusta, South Australia. This plant will focus on producing methanol from renewable sources, contributing to the green chemicals and fuels sector in the region.

HIF Global is advancing its commitment to sustainable energy with the development of the HIF Tasmania project, which is set to be the first commercial-scale eFuels facility in Australia. Located near the town of Burnie in Tasmania, this pioneering project aims to harness Tasmania’s natural advantages to accelerate the production of synthetic eFuels. The facility is expected to produce up to 100 million liters per annum of carbon-neutral fuel from 2028, leveraging Tasmania’s renewable energy resources for the production process.

These projects, along with Zero Petroleum’s initiative, highlight Australia’s growing commitment to developing renewable energy sources and reducing carbon emissions through innovative technologies like synthetic and green fuels.