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Green methanol agreement could see Townsville join global green shipping network

Page last updated on 14-03-2024.

Green methanol agreement could see Townsville join global green shipping network

14th March 2024

Townsville stands to become a global leader in the production, export and supply of green methanol, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ABEL Energy and Port of Townsville.

The MoU underpins ABEL Energy’s plans to produce and export green methanol from a new $1.7 billion manufacturing facility in Townsville. The partnership will also explore opportunities for establishing marine bunkering facilities at the Townsville Port, making Townsville a critical pitstop in the emerging green shipping network.

ABEL Energy CEO Michael van Baarle said the Townsville project would seek to replicate the company’s flagship project, Bell Bay Powerfuels in Tasmania —and would produce 300,000 tonnes per annum of green methanol for the shipping and aviation sectors.

“ABEL’s green methanol production process uses 100 per cent renewable power, fresh water and biomass residues. Our production site in Bell Bay – and the one planned for Townsville – is clean in operation with virtually zero greenhouse gas emissions, water emissions or waste discharge,” Mr van Baarle said.

“Townsville poses an ideal location for our second green methanol production facility due to the availability of wind and solar energy, along with the large amount of readily available biomass in the forms of sugar cane waste, invasive pest species, prickly acacia and woodchip.”

Port of Townsville CEO Ranee Crosby said the proposed project presents benefits for the region that expand beyond ABEL’s direct investment, trade and employment opportunities.

“This initiative aligns with Port of Townsville’s commitment to supporting sustainable energy projects and reinforces our position as a key facilitator of trade and economic growth,” Ms Crosby said.

“The world’s shipping industry is facing enormous change as it seeks to decarbonise fleets globally to meet IMO’s long-term GHG reduction ambitions.

“ABEL Energy’s project presents an exciting opportunity to provide green methanol marine bunkering facilities at the Port of Townsville, as well as exporting renewable energy to global markets.”

The MoU outlines a collaborative effort between the Port of Townsville and ABEL Energy to undertake comprehensive investigations to assess the feasibility of the proposed project. Early investigation will include market assessment and analysis, identifying infrastructure and logistic requirements and working cooperatively to advance the project.

ABEL Energy joins a growing list of proponents seeking to export renewable energy through the Port of Townsville, including Edify Energy, Origin Energy and Ark Energy Corporation.