Biofuels could be competitive with fossil fuels according to Australians

The University of Queensland’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering & Nanotechnology released a three-year study on biofuels and aviation fuel at a Weds., May 22, 2013 aviation environmental summit hosted by Boeing, according to a May 24, 2013 article by Steve Creedy for The Australian.com.au,

AVIATION biofuels produced in Australia using widely touted feedstocks and existing technology would be competitive only if crude oil was almost three times its present price, a three-year study by universities and industry has found.

The cheapest of three feedstocks studied, sugar cane, would be competitive if crude oil was at $US301 a barrel.

This increased to $US374 for oil-producing seeds from the pongamia tree and a huge $US1343 with microalgae. Brent crude is trading at about $US105 a barrel.

But technological improvements in key areas could significantly lower the price to $US168 for sugarcane, $US255 for pongamia seeds and $US385 for algae.

Peter Hannam’s May 22, 2013 article about the presentation for the Newcastle Herald provides some context for the airlines’ interest in biofuels,

… Nations and carriers continue to wrangle over rules to curb emissions. The European Union earlier this year suspended plans to impose emission permits for any flight arriving or leaving European airspace. The EU backed down after threats of non-compliance or retaliation from China, India and the US, although discussions continue for global restrictions to come into force from 2020.

As Creedy notes in his article, ” … technological improvements in key areas could significantly lower the cost …” and this would require funds. There isn’t any mention in either Creedy’s or Hannam’s article about increased funding.

You can find out more about the Queensland Sustainable Aviation Fuel Initiative here and this is where the group’s latest research study can be found,

Technoeconomic analysis of renewable aviation fuel from microalgae, Pongamia pinnata, and sugarcane by Daniel Klein-Marcuschamer, Christopher Turner, Mark Allen, Peter Gray, Ralf G Dietzgen, Peter M Gresshoff, Ben Hankamer, Kirsten Heimann, Paul T Scott, Evan Stephens, Robert Speight, and Lars K Nielsen.  Biofuels, Bioprod. Bioref.. doi: 10.1002/bbb.1404 Article First published online: 25 APR 2013

This study is behind a paywall.

1 thought on “Biofuels could be competitive with fossil fuels according to Australians

  1. Pingback: Life-cycle assessment for electric vehicle lithium-ion batteries and nanotechnology is a risk analysis « FrogHeart

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *