Bioenergy is derived from biomass to generate electricity and heat, or to produce liquid fuels for transport. Biomass is any organic matter of recently living plant or animal origin. It is available in many forms such as agricultural products, forestry products, municipal and other waste.
Traditionally, woody biomass has been used for bioenergy, however more recent technologies have expanded the potential resources to include agricultural residues, oil seeds and algae.
These advanced bioenergy technologies allow for the sustainable development of the bioenergy industry, without competing with the traditional agricultural industry for land and resources.
Bioenergy offers the potential for considerable economic benefits, including:
- increasing Australia’s energy security
- reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- stimulating regional development
Here is just a sample of what our bioenergy projects are achieving. The University of Melbourne has developed technology that produces biodiesel from microalgal biomass. This cost effective conversion of the inedible plant material into liquid fuels could reduce Australia’s reliance on fuel imports as well as reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the transport industry. Other projects have also tested or trialled new processing and electricity production in waste water treatments.
How is bioenergy used in Australia?
Some bioenergy technologies are well established in Australia and are currently in commercial use. Bioenergy currently accounts for nearly 1% of Australia’s electricity production, and 7% of renewable electricity production. Biofuels account for approximately 1-3% of Australia’s fuel consumption. There is great potential in this renewable energy source.
Australia’s bioenergy industry currently uses a range of biomass resources including:
- bagasse, which remains after sugar has been extracted from sugarcane
- landfill gas
- wood waste and black liquor
- energy crops
- agricultural products
- municipal solid waste.
The majority of Australia’s current bioenergy capacity is derived from bagasse co-generation.
Australia is well placed to develop a sustainable and competitive bioenergy industry thanks to our:
- abundance of sunlight, flat land and a climate suitable for growing dedicated energy crops
- world-class expertise in agricultural science
- strength in natural resources and infrastructure industry development.
Take a look at our bioenergy projects.
The kinds of bioenergy projects that we fund
Demonstration activities that involve bioenergy electricity and heat to meet specific local demand, improvements to feedstock management, or the purification of biogas.
Demonstration activities that involve biofuels to meet specific demand, improvements to feedstock management, or the processing of biofuels into refined drop-in fuels.