PORT of Townsville and Abel Energy have partnered on a plan to establish methanol bunkering facilities at the port.

The bunkering facilities are part of Abel Energy’s plan to produce and export green methanol from a $1.7-billion manufacturing facility in Townsville.

The port’s partnership with Abel Energy is outlined in a memorandum of understanding signed on Thursday (14 March).

It covers a collaborative effort to “undertake comprehensive investigations to assess the feasibility of the proposed project”.

Early investigation would include market assessment and analysis and identifying infrastructure and logistic requirements.

Abel Energy CEO Michael van Baarle said the Townsville project would seek to replicate the company’s flagship Bell Bay Powerfuels project in Tasmania.

He said anticipates the Townsville project would produce 300,000 tonnes per annum of green methanol for the shipping and aviation sectors.

“Abel’s green methanol production process uses 100% renewable power, fresh water and biomass residues,” Mr Van Baarle said.

“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.

“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 shipping industry is facing “enormous change” as it seeks to decarbonise fleets to meet International Maritime Organization’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.”

Port of Townsville said 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.