South Australia Releases Roadmap to Develop State’s Bioenergy Industry

The South Australian Government has recently released a report that aims to identify opportunities for the state to develop its bioenergy industry.

The report ‘A Bioenergy Roadmap for South Australia’ was developed by Jacobs, under commission by the state government, to analyse the potential for bioenergy throughout the South Australia. As well as the accompanying report Jacobs have developed spatial data to identify potential ‘hotspots’ for the production of bioenergy.

Bioenergy, which is developed from localised and regional waste resources and purpose grown feedstock such as woody weeds, corn and algae, is being touted as a future sustainable supply of energy.

In addressing climate change issues, the state continues to actively seek ways to reduce its emissions associated with energy production. Despite the merits of wind and solar energy it is acknowledged that a wide and diverse range of technologies and fuels will be required to provide energy throughout South Australia at all times and to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

Due to ongoing limitations with energy storage and fluctuating weather conditions, electricity produced from wind and solar may not be always reliable to supply energy in times of high demands. As a result, electricity from bioenergy could be used as another sustainable and environmentally friendly option to power the state’s power requirements during peak times.

Though the bio-energy industry is in its infancy within South Australia Bio-energy is already used in a number of locations throughout the state including various SA Water Adelaide wastewater treatment plants.

The Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis on discussing the findings of the report said "it shows the most prospective area for bioenergy is Penola and Mount Gambier, while purpose-grown biomass crops are best suited to the areas of Peake, Naracoorte, Elliston, Spalding and Cummins."

While the report largely concentrates on electricity generation it does touch on the potential to develop liquid bio-fuels that could be used as a substitute for diesel and petrol in certain engines. However, in its recommendations it does not include the transport and logistics industry as one that could benefit or expand from available opportunities. The released roadmap is the first stage in further developing South Australia’s bio-energy industry so future developments may discuss the opportunity to transport and logistics in more detail.

The document mentions two South Australian programs already creating biofuels. ARfuels in Largs Bay (as well as two other interstate facilities) is currently utilising tallow and used cooking oil to produce 45 ML of bio-diesel per annum. While a pilot program has been setup in Whyalla looking to produce biofuels from algae.

For more information see http://www.renewablessa.sa.gov.au/investor-information/bio-energy-roadmap