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Home > Press > Biofuels research looks to the future of flying

The Queensland Government has worked with UQ to secure a world-first green fuel initiative which could slash greenhouse gas emissions by fuelling planes with algae.

Biofuels research looks to the future of flying

Queensland | Posted on May 5th, 2010

In Chicago representing Queensland at the world's biggest biotechnology conference, Bio 2010, Premier Anna Bligh announced a research consortium that will locate a major aviation biofuel project in Brisbane.

The consortium - led by The University of Queensland - brings together some of the biggest names in global aviation including Boeing and Virgin Blue along with major US green energy company, Amyris.

Queensland partners in the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Initiative include Mackay Sugar, Brisbane-based IOR Energy, James Cook University and Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries.

"Queensland is set to become the home for cleaner, greener, renewable jet fuel," Ms Bligh said.

"The aviation industry accounts for around two per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and that may grow to three percent unless further action is taken to reduce emissions.

"We're leading the way on aviation biofuels research. With a growing focus on making our skies greener, this is big business and good for jobs and the environment. "

The Queensland Government has injected $2 million in to the project through UQ's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) which will research the production of aviation biofuels.

Boeing has committed $450,000 to the project and Amyris is investing more than $1 million. Ms Bligh said the AIBN Queensland Sustainable Aviation Fuel Initiative, led by Professor Lars Nielsen, was a world first and could have a big impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation industry.

Professor Neilson said there were already 18,000 aircraft in operation and another 25,000 were expected to enter service in the next 20 years.

"Reducing the environmental impact of flying is a key challenge in tackling climate change," Professor Nielsen said.

He said the holy grail of global aviation and international research was focusing on finding a biofuel that was safe to use, could be produced sustainably and in the quantities to feed jets' enormous appetite, and could be produced at competitive prices.

Boeing chief technology officer and senior vice president of Engineering, Operations and Technology, John Tracy said the research would play an important part in the future of flying.

"Boeing is working with its customers and industry-university partners around the world to pioneer environmentally progressive technologies that will improve the global transportation system," Mr Tracy said.

"These efforts include developing and flight testing sustainable advanced-generation biofuels, as well as providing more fuel-efficient products, improved air traffic management systems and more."


For more information, please click here

Megan Saunders
Premier's Office
(0419 913 438, 07 3224 4500)

Copyright © University of Queensland

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