Grant secures take-off for sustainable aviation fuel project

Queensland sugar cane waste and wood waste could be turned into sustainable aviation fuel thanks to a $159,000 grant from the Palaszczuk Government’s $5 million Waste to Biofutures (W2B) Fund.

Speaking from the Bio Based Aviation and Marine Fuels Summit in Gladstone, Minister for State Development Cameron Dick said the grant would support a research project being undertaken by Gevo Inc, a global producer of low-carbon renewable fuels.

“Gevo supplied the renewable fuel used in Virgin Australia’s trial of sustainable aviation fuel at Brisbane Airport which was completed in June last year,” Mr Dick said.

“This new research project will see Gevo collaborate with QUT to turn Queensland sugar cane waste and wood waste into sustainable jet fuel.

“Sustainable aviation fuel provides an alternative to fossil-based jet fuel and offers environmental benefits by reducing the carbon footprint of plane travel.

“This project will also help position Queensland as a world-leading location for investment in the manufacture and distribution of this fuel in the global bioproducts and services market.”

Mr Dick said Gevo’s participation in the successful sustainable aviation fuel trial at the Brisbane Airport led to the company considering Queensland as the location for its first biorefinery outside of the United States.

“These ongoing partnerships have the potential to bring even more business to Queensland, as demand for biofuels grows,” he said.

“Having the ability to turn our agriculture waste into sustainable fuel means more jobs in agriculture and biofutures across our regions.”

Gevo Chief Executive Officer Dr Patrick Gruber said Queensland is rich in renewable biomass resources and has expressed the desire to invest in the future of biofuels.

“This opportunity opens the door for the development of a project that supplies low carbon gasoline to not only Queensland, but also the possibility to supply commercial quantities of 2G sustainable aviation fuel to the Brisbane Airport.

“This would expand upon our demonstrations of sustainable aviation fuel supply to commercial airlines, like those conducted with Virgin Australia.”

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and project lead Professor Robert Speight said the university was excited to be working with Gevo in assessing opportunities for developing biorefineries in Queensland.

“This project is an opportunity to further leverage QUT’s expertise in scaling and commercialising industrial bioprocesses.

“With our state’s large sugar resources, strong innovation, environment and growing demand for renewable products like sustainable fuels, Queensland is well placed for the commercial development of these industries.”

Mr Dick said the Queensland Government is invested in growing and diversifying the state’s aviation and maritime industries and steadfast in supporting regional projects generating economic development and creating more jobs for Queenslanders.

“Today’s summit in Gladstone is investigating how bio-based aviation and marine fuels can be part of a new industry for Queensland,” he said.

“The Queensland Government’s Queensland Biofutures 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan is positioning our state as an Asia-Pacific hub for the industrial biotechnology and bioproducts sector.

“Our Waste to Biofutures Fund is helping create a $1 billion sustainable and export-oriented industrial biotechnology and bioproducts sector here in Queensland.”

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