Queensland emerging as biofuel hub of the Asia Pacific

Queensland’s potential as the biofuel hub of the Asia Pacific was discussed in Washington this week,  in a meeting between the state’s Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick and the US Department of the Navy.

Minister Dick met at the Pentagon with advanced biofuel experts and announced the appointment of Queensland’s new US-based Strategic Biofutures Advisor.

“We are delighted to have an expert of Chris Tindal’s standing step forward to work with Queensland, which is a real testament to the reputation our state’s biofutures industry has garnered internationally,” he said.

Tindal is the current assistant director of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative, and the former director for Operational Energy, US Navy, as well as an adjunct professor at the Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities at the Queensland University of Technology.

“He brings extraordinary experiences from his work setting energy policy and promoting the adoption of alternative fuels and renewable energy resources,” Minister Dick said.

Tindal said the people within Queensland’s government and private sector have a keen understanding of biofuel technologies and the polices needed to support a robust biofutures industry.

“All this makes Queensland a great place to invest in the growing biofutures economy,” he said.

The Queensland government and the US Department of the Navy signed a Statement of Cooperation in August 2016 to collaborate on developing alternative fuels.

Minister Dick said the meeting came as the Queensland biofutures sector was hitting its stride.

“Since the agreement with the US Navy was signed we have seen positive growth for the industry here. The Northern Oil Advanced Biofuels Pilot Plant, Australia’s first advanced pilot biofuels refinery, has been constructed, and work is underway for the production of fuels that meet military requirements,” he said.

“We also have a pipeline of prospective biofutures projects worth more than a billion dollars in progress, including those with the potential to produce military-grade biodiesel.”

Rear Admiral Simon Cullen AM CSC (Ret’d), Queensland’s Strategic Defence Advisor for SEA, said the US Navy’s search for alternative energy sources for their fleets could one day be replicated more broadly.

“Energy demands for military operations will only increase as systems become progressively more complex, and it makes sense to consider a wider range of energy sources to meet these demands.

“Drop-in’ biofuels that can supplement conventional fuels without the ships needing modification have considerable potential in the future, and Queensland’s pursuit of this industry will hold it in good stead.”

“Queensland is leading Australia’s bioindustrial revolution, and we’ll continue to engage directly with major players in the international bioindustrial sector to land big projects delivering thousands of jobs,” Dick said.