Bioen­ergy is com­ing of age

Con­nect­ing with new green en­ergy so­lu­tions

Central and North Rural Weekly - - OPINION - KIRILI LAMB kirili.lamb@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

IN A land­scape rich in space and agri­cul­tural land, bio­fu­els pre­sent enor­mous po­ten­tial in Aus­tralia’s fu­ture en­ergy mix.

Ethanol is one of the best recog­nised bio­fuel prod­ucts, but in re­cent years there have been ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ments around a whole range of tech­nolo­gies be­ing con­verted to real-world projects.

From biomass boil­ers in sugar and wheat pro­cess­ing fa­cil­i­ties, to meth­ane ex­trac­tors, and bio­fuel pro­duc­tion from green and even “hu­ma­nure” waste streams, these projects are be­ing en­acted by pri­vate en­ter­prises, ei­ther to make use of in­ter­nal waste re­sources, or by sourc­ing waste streams from other industries.

Bioen­ergy Aus­tralia chief ex­ec­u­tive Sha­hana McKen­zie said there were a num­ber of re­cent project an­nounce­ments that ex­em­pli­fied this en­tre­pre­neur­ial ap­proach.

“As an ex­am­ple, some projects that have been re­cently an­nounced are the South­ern Meats abat­toir in coun­try NSW, which is an anaer­o­bic di­ges­tion project,” Ms McKen­zie said.

“There is an anaer­o­bic di­gester on the waste water that comes out of the abat­toir. It then cap­tures the meth­ane gas, which is be­ing used to gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity and it re­sults in a 50 per cent re­duc­tion of en­ergy costs for that com­pany.”

The tech­nol­ogy provider for that project, ReNu En­ergy is a Bioen­ergy Aus­tralia mem­ber.

Bioen­ergy Aus­tralia is a non-profit in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tion with mem­ber­ship com­prised of gov­ern­ment bod­ies, al­lied in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tions and cor­po­rates, in­clud­ing larger bio­fuel pro­duc­ers, tech­nol­ogy providers, and end users such as air and road trans­port com­pa­nies.

“Our role as the in­dus­try body is for us to be ex­pos­ing the op­por­tu­ni­ties to all of those tar­get au­di­ences who could be util­is­ing bioen­ergy so­lu­tions on their own fa­cil­i­ties, and to fa­cil­i­tate in­tro­duc­tions to the tech­nol­ogy providers and project de­vel­op­ers avail­able,” Ms McKen­zie.

“The peo­ple who come in and will do the con­ver­sion, or es­tab­lish the in­fra­struc­ture in order to de­liver the project.

“They do that in a whole raft of dif­fer­ent ways in terms of the fi­nanc­ing mod­els that are avail­able for that, but also in terms of the on­go­ing main­te­nance as well.”

BRIL­LIANT BIO­FUEL: The North­ern Oil Ad­vanced Bio­fu­els Pi­lot Plant in Glad­stone is an ex­am­ple of the grow­ing num­ber of pro­gres­sive bio­fuel projects. PHOTO: PAUL BRAVEN

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