Eco Investor May 2020
Bioenergy From Weed Infestations - Submission to the ARENA Bioenergy
7 May 2020
Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Australian Renewable
Energy Agency's Bioenergy Roadmap.
My main suggestion is to explore the idea of utilizing Australia's many
major weed infestations as feedstock for bioenergy.
A detailed business case could examine the areas of major infestations,
the employment and regional development that could be created through
weeding and ongoing eradication programs, the energy content of each type
of infestation, the forms of bioenergy for which the feedstocks are suited,
whether the feedstocks are suitable for processing in existing energy
facilities or require new facilities, whether such weeding can be done
commercially or requires government support, and the environmental benefits
of the weeding and eradication programs, among other aspects.
I will give one example of how such a program could operate.
Unfortunately, there are significant weed infestations in many national
parks, state recreation areas and other public lands in the area bounded
by Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Newcastle and Wollongong. For example,
there are major infestations of numerous types of weeds along and in the
lands adjacent to the Hawkesbury and Nepean Rivers - such as at Bents
Basin and at Cattai National Park. There are significant infestations
of lantana and other weeds along the M1 Freeway between Sydney and Newcastle
and in the Wollongong region such as at Killalea State Park.
The volumes of weed biomass are sufficient to require significant work
to deweed and eliminate. There is enough for several if not many teams
to be employed in a full time and ongoing capacity. The biomass could
be regularly trucked to a suitable facility or facilities for processing
into a suitable form of energy such as biogas, baseload electricity and
This model may be suitable for many other near-urban and regional locations
around Australia. There are also likely to be opportunities for smaller
and portable power plants.
The missing ingredients for a large-scale weed biomass to energy sector
are the information to develop viable eradication programs, commercialization
pathways and facilities, and suitable government support if needed; together
with the entrepreneurship and business wherewithal to make it happen.
I hope this suggestion is useful, and that the upcoming Roadmap is successful
in helping to develop the huge potential of Australia's bioenergy sector.
Editor & Publisher
Eco Investor Media
PO Box 3411
Wareemba NSW 2046
There is significant weed infestation at Bents Basin Reserve near Sydney.