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Turning Queensland sugarcane into jet biofuel

One of the many challenges of our food system and the economy generally is to decarbonise production systems, and become more fuel-secure by producing it here. Producing biofuel is one way to do this and making it from Australian sugarcane also has regional economic benefits by supporting more jobs through the supply chain. Biofuels are renewable liquid fuels, the most common is bioethanol but also bio-aviation fuel (BAF). In the case of sugarcane, biofuel can be made from the waste material-typically molasses- left after processing so it’s a win-win.

In a new pilot biorefinery plant based in Mackay Queensland, they are turning sugarcane crop waste called bagasse into renewable diesel and bio-aviation fuel under the watchful eye of researchers from the Queensland University of technology (QUT). Their challenge is to demonstrate the technology works and how it can be scaled-up to increase Queensland’s biofuel production capabilities. The aviation fuel can be used in the same way as traditional aviation fuel making the switch simple. This could enable carbon-negative jet fuel because sugarcane captures more carbon during growth than the engine emits during combustion. The same process could be used for other waste products from corn, wheat, barley, rice straw, sawdust and woodchips.

Read the full story here.

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