ARENA to set national bioenergy strategy

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will develop a roadmap for bioenergy to be utilised in the decarbonisation of the Australian industrial sector.

The roadmap will be developed after Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, asked ARENA to look into how bioenergy could enable Australia to have a competitive advantage in the transition from fossil fuels.

The potential for bioenergy to be used for heat, steam, and power will be explored by ARENA, while also determining how the fuel could deliver an economic return for Australia, and regional Australia in particular.

Bioenergy can be energy that is made from organic and renewable materials. Often inputs for bioenergy include wastewater, industrial, commercial, and municipal waste. In addition, waste from agriculture, forestry, and industry can be turned into bioenergy. Today, bioenergy contributes up to four per cent of Australia’s energy consumption, however there is potential for growth, noted Darren Miller, ARENA CEO.

“Bioenergy and energy from waste technologies are well-developed worldwide, with the International Energy Agency’s forecasted renewables report identifying this area as an ‘overlooked giant’ within the renewables space. There is also significant potential for biofuels to decarbonise the industrial and transport sectors in Australia.”

Bioenergy could also act in ways similar to hydrogen, by providing heat for industrial processes, as well as baseload power for energy intensive applications. Already, ARENA has funded bioenergy projects with $100 million. These projects have determined how energy from waste, biogas, biomass, and biofuels could enter into the energy mix.

Queensland is one state that is looking to capitalise on the potential of bioenergy, with the state hosting the Bio Innovation Week from November 11-15. Bioenergy Australia board member, Ian O’Hara, highlighted that the state has the capability to take advantage of developments in the fuel.

“By working together, Queensland’s government, research and industry sectors have the expertise necessary to capture these opportunities for our state,” he said.

During the Week, six new projects, worth $22 million won funding from the state government, including projects to make fertiliser, and biogas from waste.