Eco Innovator March 2012

Government Grants

$5 Million for Advanced Biofuels

MBD Energy has welcomed an Australian Government grant of $5 million to James Cook University to help develop a macro algae to bio-crude oil project. The project will leverage another $6 million from MBD Energy and the Advanced Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre, taking total funding to around $11 million.

MBD Energy managing director, Andrew Lawson, said macro algae offer exceptional opportunities for the supply of biomass feedstock for the production of bio-crude suited to refining into conventional transport fuels.

The initial focus of the project is delivery of R&D to underpin biomass productivity and yields for bio-crude production using hydrothermal processes.

A second stage of the program will enable MBD Energy to demonstrate commercial scale production and processing of macro algal biomass and provide the blueprint to implement cost-effective, large-scale macro algal production and its development as a viable feedstock.

Mr Lawson said "Our focus is on developing systems designed to allow algal biomass to be grown at a commercial scale, effectively recycling waste emissions into useful supply chain commodities."

The macro algae project R&D leaders, professor Rocky de Nys and Dr Nicholas Paul from James Cook University, have a 35 year background in algal biology and chemistry and biomass production and related research.

Professors Thomas Maschmeyer and Brian Haynes from University of Sydney, together covering more than 30 years in the chemical process engineering and hydrothermal conversion space, will lead the bio-crude research. MBD's Scott Grierson and his team will provide engineering expertise for the projects.

"Macro algae are extremely fast growing and don't compete with food crops for use of arable land and, as they grow, macro algae capture carbon dioxide. They can also help remediate heavy metals and nutrient contaminated industrial waste water such as that found in ash dams at power stations," said Mr Lawson.

"We believe that macro algae present an attractive feedstock for carbon capture and recycling based bio-crude production to enable sustainable downstream production of mainstream fuels."

In other news, Australia's former chief scientist, Robin Batterham AO, had joined the board of MBD Energy as a non-executive director.

Professor Batterham has specialized in chemical engineering, and is the current president of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. He was Chief Scientist of Australia from 1999 to 2006.

He has contributed to research and development in the chemical and sugar industries and to the mining and metals industries. He was responsible for the implementation of new processes as well as significant work in process improvement, particularly process control and modeling.

The board of MBD Energy is chaired by Jerry Ellis, a former chairman of BHP, and cornerstone investors include Anglo American and The Sentient Group.

Federal minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, said advanced biofuels have the potential to play a role in diversifying Australia's liquid fuel sources while reducing carbon emissions.





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