In Australia, bioprocess technology developer Licella Holdings Ltd (Licella) welcomes an announcement by the Shadow Minister for Defence, Brendan O'Connor, in support of domestic biofuel manufacturing for Defence.
According to a statement by Brendan O’Connor MP Shadow Minister for Defence, Labor will task Defence to work with biofuel manufacturers on military-spec fuels, including through the Defence Fuel Transformation Program.
Defence’s advice to Parliament is that up to 50 percent of current fuels could ultimately be replaced with renewable fuels, but they require a commercialized industry. Not only will this package strengthen Australian fuel security and supply chains for Defence, it will also provide new revenue streams for sugar cane farmers, create new jobs in manufacturing, and reduce emissions, the statement said
Provide AU$5 million grant
Labor will provide an AU$5 million grant to Licella for the development of a commercial biorefinery capable of making military-spec fuel in Queensland’s Burdekin region.
Labor will also make a high-level commitment to partner with the US and UK through mechanisms such as AUKUS on sustainable Australian-made liquid fuel, including for military purposes, as recommended on a bipartisan basis by the Joint Standing Committee on Defence Sub-Committee.
According to Licella, this funding would help establish a commercial biorefinery in the Burdekin region of Queensland (QLD), with Licella’s Australian-developed Cat-HTR technology at its core.
Every year, an estimated 1.65 million tonnes of unused sugarcane tops and trash are produced in the Burdekin region.
Through collaboration with stakeholders in the Burdekin, the opportunity exists to divert this unused biomass from burning. A local biorefinery would provide a commercially and environmentally attractive alternative for growers.
The opportunity for biofuels in the Burdekin region is immense. We estimate that by utilizing the sugarcane waste burnt each year in the region, our biorefinery could produce around 73 million gallons of Sustainable Aviation Fuel every year. That’s about 900 full loads of commercial jet biofuel, said Licella CEO Dr Len Humphreys.
Demonstrate biocrude to SAF
Supported by the Queensland Labor Government’s Waste to Biofutures Fund, Licella has already successfully demonstrated the conversion of sugarcane trash to biocrude at its Cat-HTR Commercial Demonstration Facility in Somersby, New South Wales (NSW).
This funding would accelerate the demonstration of SAF production from Licella’s biocrude and the certification of SAF for domestic civil and military applications.
Burdekin Renewable Fuels Chairman Greg Rossato said that the funding helps highlight the potential for Burdekin to contribute to a strong bioeconomy.
Sugarcane as a sustainable feedstock to manufacture fuels and chemicals is an exciting alternative for Growers and our community. It continues the tradition of the sugarcane industry being a major participant in the bioeconomy, Greg Rossato said.
Once constructed, the biorefinery would create new jobs in manufacturing, alongside indirect jobs in the supply chain, significantly reduce emissions and provide much-needed fuel security to Australia’s defense force.