New jobs for regional Australia and transformed cleaner industries are some of the benefits that may flow from manufacturing goods from things like sugar cane waste and excess forestry products.
Innovative new procedures allow biofuels and other chemicals to be produced cost effectively from renewable sources, according to two new reports — Scoping Biorefineries: Temperate Biomass Value Chains and Biorefinery Scoping Study: Tropical Biomass.
Releasing the reports, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr said that research on converting biomass into materials such as fuel, plastic and chemicals can help Australian industries reduce their reliance on imported petrochemicals and contribute to a richer, fairer and greener future.
“Developments in biomass research could help feed the demand for clean energies, create high-skilled jobs in regional areas and increase economic activity in local communities,” Senator Carr said. This is because biomass conversion facilities need to be based locally in the areas where the biomass is grown.
“The reports show how we can build on the existing $11 million investment the Government is making in biomass research infrastructure. We can utilise Australian biomass beyond using it for biofuels only.”
Government-funded biomass research infrastructure include the Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant, the NCRIS Photobioreactor Facility in Adelaide as well as laboratory facilities at three universities.
Senator Carr said developers of the new technologies could also benefit from increased funding towards low pollution technologies under the Government’s new $200 million Clean Technology Innovation Program.
The reports were commissioned as part of the National Enabling Technologies Strategy which helps Australian industries capitalise on growth opportunities and fosters responsible development of enabling technologies.
The reports were written, in consultation with the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, by Parratt & Associates and Corelli Consulting respectively. The reports are the first to consider both the establishment of Australian biomass based industries and the supporting policy framework.
The reports are available from www.innovation.gov.au.