Eco Innovator March 2012

Government Grants

$15 Million Biofuel Program

The Federal Government has opened applications under a new $15 million Advanced Biofuels Investment Readiness (ABIR) Program.

The Program is designed to support the investment case of scalable, pre-commercial advanced biofuels demonstration projects in Australia. The program is open for applications until 30 April.

Pre-commercial demonstration projects are those that demonstrate advanced biofuels technology can be produced and marketed in a commercially viable way.

Projects may include pre-feasibility studies, feasibility or front-end engineering design (FEED) studies to translate a pre-production process into a commercially viable configuration, trial production runs and tooling-up costs, trials and demonstrations, and pilot plants.

There is no size limit to grants under the Program, apart from total funding allocated to the Program and the value for proposals, but grants are expected to be around $5 million.

"This new Biofuels Program builds on the Governments existing support for biofuels through the Second Generation Biofuels Program to take the next step towards establishing a commercial advanced biofuels industry in Australia," said Federal minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson.

Funding is provided through the Government's commitment to a $20 million Australian Biofuels Research Institute. From 1 July 2012, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will assume responsibility for administering the program and overseeing the progress of the James Cook University project.

Globally, attention is turning to advanced biofuels as they offer an alterative to traditional transport fuels and have the benefit of not impacting on food security as they are derived from non-food feedstocks, such as algae and wood waste, said Mr Ferguson.

"Advanced biofuels have the potential to play a role in diversifying our liquid fuel sources while reducing carbon emissions."

"Advanced biofuels—particularly those that can integrate into existing liquid fuel supply chains and are compatible with existing engine technologies and infrastructure—could also become a significant source of regional employment.

"Targeted investment of the kind will help to deliver the technological breakthroughs industry needs on the pathway towards commercialization," said minister Ferguson.

While at James Cook University in Townsville, minister Ferguson also announced the Government is providing $5 million to James Cook University to research, develop and demonstrate Australia's first freshwater and marine macro-algae to biofuels project.





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