25 June 2013
Bioenergy / Energy from waste
Five projects managed by ARENA have been completed and show progress towards producing plentiful and affordable biofuels in Australia, thereby increasing the nation’s potential for self-sufficiency in transport fuel production while reducing greenhouse emissions.
1. Commercial demonstration of lignocellulosics to (unique) stable bio-crude oil
Undertaken by Licella Pty Ltd in partnership with the University of Sydney and Ignite Energy Resources Ltd.
This project successfully demonstrated a scaled-up production plant that converts inedible plant material into bio-crude for blending with fossil crude oil. ARENA has since provided $5.4 million for a $8.2 million feasibility study into constructing a pre-commercial version of the plant, which could produce 125,000 barrels each year.
2. Production of second generation ethanol, high nutrition feed and “green coal” from sugarcane bagasse
Undertaken by Microbiogen Pty Ltd.
Using specialised yeast bred for the purpose and an advanced refinery process, the project successfully converted inedible plant material into three products: ethanol fuel, high nutrition animal feed and an environmentally friendly potential substitute for coal.
3. Cane2Fuel: Developing an optimised and sustainable sugarcane biomass input system for the production of second generation biofuels
Undertaken by BSES Limited in partnership with CSIRO Plant Industry.
The project concluded that it is not currently economic to produce biofuels from sugarcane based biomass using traditional fermentation technology; however this is expected to change in the short to medium term as improvements in conversion technology, operating and capital cost reductions, feedstock supply, reduced emissions and compelling market forces for second generation biofuel production and consumption drive technology uptake.
4. Sustainable production of high-quality second generation transport biofuels from mallee biomass by pyrolysis and biorefinery
Undertaken by Curtin University of Technology in partnership with CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems and WA Department of Environment and Conservation.
The project successfully developed a new technology that combines heating (pyrolysis) of mallee crops and processing (biorefinery) of the resulting bio-oil to sustainably produce advanced biofuels. This project also increased understanding of how mallee can be produced affordably and at a large enough scale for biofuel production.
5. Biofuel from microalgae: efficient separation, processing and utilisation of algal biomass
Undertaken by University of Melbourne in partnership with Bio Fuels Pty Ltd.
The project developed and studied the affordability of a new process to produce biodiesel and other valuable by-products from algae grown in large-scale algal farms, finding that the technology was effective but needed to be further refined to improve its efficiency and economics.
The projects were funded through the former Second Generation Biofuels Research and Development (Gen 2) Program.