ARENA supports advanced biofuel pilot plant of Ethtec

Testing biofuels. Author: Official U.S. Navy Page. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

November 21 (Renewables Now) - Ethanol Technologies Ltd (Ethtec) has secured AUD 11.9 million (USD 9m/EUR 7.6m) in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to complete a pilot plant that will demonstrate its advanced biofuel technology, ARENA said on Tuesday.

The Australian biofuel firm has developed a process for the production of bioethanol from non-food plant waste known as lignocellulosic biomass. Example feedstocks include sugarcane bagasse, forestry residues and cotton gin trash.

The pilot facility, worth AUD 30 million, is part of a AUD-48-million project and will be located in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. The project will also get AUD 11.9 million in matching funding from industry partner Jiangsu Jintongling Fluid Machinery Technology Co Ltd.  

"With the support of the Australian Government, we are hoping to engineer a more cost-competitive process for producing ethanol that will make use of existing biomass materials and create a world-leading facility for advanced biofuels," said Ethtec's chief scientist Russell Reeves.

Australia, all of whose ethanol is currently first generation, made from wheat and sugarcane, is expected to see demand for ethanol grow by about 500 million (132 million gallons) a year over the period to 2030, according to the announcement.

ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht said advanced biofuels present an opportunity for exports and for Australia to reduce emissions from the transport sector. "The global demand for biofuels is expected to triple by 2050, with most of the growth to be met by ethanol so technological breakthroughs that make producing ethanol from waste more efficient is game changing," he also said.

(AUD 1 = USD 0.754/EUR 0.643)  


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Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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