Bioenergy / Energy from wasteProject Sustainable Production of Transport Biofuels
Report on the development of a new technology that combines heating (pyrolysis) of mallee crops and processing (biorefinery) of the resulting bio-oil to sustainably produce advanced biofuels.
The project developed a new technology and increased technical know-how that will equip Australia to grow and convert farm-grown mallee crops (biomass) into advanced biofuels, thereby helping to meet transport fuel demands while reducing carbon emissions.
It was fundeded through the Second Generation Biofuels Research and Development (Gen 2) Program, which supported the research, development and demonstration of new biofuel technologies and feedstocks that address the sustainable development of an advanced biofuel industry in Australia.
The project had three key outcomes:
1. It successfully developed a unique technology that combines heating (pyrolysis) of mallee crops and the subsequent biorefinery of the resulting green bio-crude to sustainably produce advanced biofuels. The key features of the technology have been demonstrated in lab-scale pilot plants.
The project found that depending on the biorefinery configuration the cost of producing biofuels could be as low as 49 cents a litre when converting mallee biomass grown in the WA wheatbelt. In addition, the overall net carbon emission of biofuel production could be negative: significant amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere could be sequestrated during the overall process of biofuel production if bio-char is returned back to the field.
2. It increased understanding about how mallee biomass could be produced at an affordable price and at a large enough scale for biofuel production. An additional benefit is that mallee biomass production can help address dryland salinity problems and support regional economies.
3. It also generated significant amounts of new knowledge and intellectual property. Many young scientists and engineers, including PhD students, were involved in this project. The research training they received is a vital contribution to the emerging advanced biofuel industry in Australia. Two patent applications have been filed on the prolysis and biorefinery technology that was developed during the project.