Eco Innovator March 2012

Government Policy

New Research Facilities for Biofuel Opportunities

Two new facilities at Curtin University in Western Australia will help Australia to take advantage of growing international interest in advanced biofuels.

The Fuels and Energy Technology Institute and the Biofuels Research and Development Facility, which is part of the Institute, are developing and seeking to commercialize cutting-edge advanced biofuel technologies and processes.

"The Australian Government is proud to support this important research and development program. Our $2.5 million funding commitment from the Second Generation (Gen 2) Biofuels Program has contributed to the outstanding work being undertaken here at Curtin University," said minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson.

"The Curtin University team of biofuels researchers has developed new pyrolysis technology that uses simplified equipment, does not produce a residual product that requires disposal, demands less energy and can accept nearly all biomass as the feedstock.

"These breakthroughs mean that pyrolysis technology overcomes some of the barriers to the commercialization of biofuels technology.

"They have now patented this technology, opening up serious potential for revenue from its licensing and deployment, again with the support of the Australian Government through Commercialisation Australia.

"Australia is well placed to capitalize on the opportunities on offer and facilities like these at Curtin University will help us do that," said Mr Ferguson.

Advanced biofuels have a wide range of applications, from aviation and shipping to electricity generation. The new generation of biofuels surpass their predecessors entirely, he said, allowing the cost-competitive production of both electricity and crude oil from a variety of feedstocks, including renewables. Given the growing global demand for oil and the volatility of world oil prices, the economics of advanced biofuels are really starting to stack up, said the minister.





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