The Marsden Point oil refinery is asking for taxpayer help to look into making more environmentally friendly jet fuel.
Refining NZ is proposing a study that could cost several million dollars funded by a public and private consortium.
It would look into making jet fuel from the likes of biomass or hydrogen.
It is envisaged this would provide an alternative to the oil refinery that is set to shut down with the loss of hundreds of jobs.
“We believe that some of the equipment we currently have on site at Marsden Point, as well as some of our team, are well positioned to support the development of this industry,” the company told RNZ.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says it is considering the proposal.
“The cost of the feasibility study could be in the order of several million dollars, but this would depend on the final parameters for the study,” the ministry said.
Local iwi say they would have expected the government and company to have made plans sooner than this for life after the refinery.
Sustainable aviation fuels are promoted as the only feasible option for reducing the big carbon footprint of long-haul flights.
Blended with regular jet fuel, at 10-50 percent, they require no modification to plane engines.
The ministry said Refining NZ also recently submitted proposals about biofuels.
“Nothing is off the table, though of course, some of these opportunities are nearer term than others,” the company said.
It had the resource consents and was talking to possible partners.
“We are investigating opportunities for private storage, other imports, Maranga Ra (the solar farm project that was previously developed), the import, storage and production of biofuels, including sustainable aviation fuel.”
SOURCE: RNZ NEWS