The production of sustainable, clean fuels is a step closer to a commercial reality following an Australian Government investment of $9.8 million in two projects through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) Advanced Biofuels Investment Readiness Program.
The Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon. Martin Ferguson AM MP, today announced $5.4 million for Licella Pty Ltd to assess the feasibility of constructing its first pre-commercial biofuel plant; and $4.4 million for Muradel Pty Ltd to demonstrate its algal biofuel technology.
“Australia has a chance to capitalise on a number of competitive advantages, such as our abundant sunshine and climate, to build an advanced biofuels industry that will help diversify our liquid fuel sources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Minister Ferguson said.
“Following earlier Australian Government support, ARENA is making these investments after seeing both of the home-grown companies prove the potential of their advanced biofuel technologies.
“The new investments are expected to take the local industry forward by creating the next step in the commercialisation pathway for these advanced biofuel technologies.”
Licella, which opened its Australian Government supported Commercial Demonstration Plant in 2011, will use the $5.4 million of ARENA funding to undertake a $8.2 million feasibility study into the construction of its first pre-commercial biofuels plant. If constructed, it is estimated that the plant could produce 125,000 barrels of Bio-Crude per annum, which could be used as a drop in fuel for the aviation industry.
“Technologies such Licella’s, which will produce a ‘drop-in’ alternative to fossil based crude oil, have the potential to directly displace traditional high-emission fuels. It’s promising to see this company take steps to move from a successful demonstration program into the commercialisation space,” Minister Ferguson said.
Muradel will use ARENA’s $4.4 million investment in a $10.7 million project up scaling its marine algal production and harvesting technology from pilot to demonstration size near Whyalla, South Australia. The technology has the potential to become sustainable “green crude” for the existing petroleum industry and to provide fuel for aviation.
“If this project proves the technology’s commercial viability, Muradel will be in the position to build Australia’s first commercial algae-to-biofuels plant that will offer regional employment opportunities and increase Australia’s fuel security.”
Both projects are expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
ARENA is a $3.2 billion Australian Government commitment to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia. It is part of the Government’s Clean Energy Future package. Further information about ARENA is at www.arena.gov.au