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Future transport fuel options laid bare

FINAL Barney Foran biofuel release.doc102 KB

Australia could supply 90 per cent of its transport fuel needs by 2030 with bio-alcohol derived from wood, generating a $10 billion annual turnover for industry, according to a recent study.

This is one of the conclusions of research undertaken by former CSIRO scientist Mr Barney Foran, now a visiting fellow at Charles Sturt University’s Institute of Land Water and Society.

The project, The transition to a bio-fuel economy in Australia, is an extensive investigation into what is needed for Australians to continue living anything like their current lifestyles.

Rural research and development corporation Land & Water Australia funded the project. Executive Director Dr Michael Robinson said research into the topic started over eight years ago and has become increasingly important with the challenges of climate change and the focus on energy systems.

Australian Forest Growers Chief Executive, Warwick Ragg, said Mr Foran’s paper was a timely addition to an important debate about the integration of farm forestry into the agricultural landscape. There are likely to be economic benefits for both companion industries and for timber income. These will be important considerations for the farm sector and its enterprise mix.

An account by Mr Foran of how bio-methanol or wood alcohol could be the future fuel of choice has been published in the Summer 2009 edition of the Australian Forest Growers’ Journal. The choice for bio-methanol is based on the high energy conversion rate, clean combustion properties, capacity to substitute for diesel and potential as a hydrogen carrier for fuel cell driven vehicles.

The thermo-chemical (heating biomass with low or no oxygen) conversion used for bio-methanol is seen as best because it offers continuous production, a range of synthesis products, and can use different types and quality of feedstock from wood to stubble to municipal wastes,” Mr Foran explained.

The security of Australia’s transport fuel presents a significant, ongoing issue, especially for the next generation. Bio-methanol could be part of an alternative energy solution for the future. There would be hurdles, including needing to revamp conventional thinking, but if we want a conventional life in 2050 it is necessary to boldly change the way we have been using resources and developing our energy needs.”

Mr Foran’s full report and detailed analysis of options for Australia’s future economy is available from Land & Water Australia.

Contact:         Karin Holzknecht, Land & Water Australia                              (02) 6263 6000 


Land & Water Australia. 2009. Future transport fuel options laid bare. [Online] (Updated July 1st, 2009)
Available at: [Accessed Thursday 24th of October 2013 10:33:35 AM ].

id: 3518 / created: 01 July, 2009 / last updated: 01 July, 2009