Skip to content

Biofutures news

January 2019 | Year in review

Read about the actions and outcomes of Biofutures Queensland in 2018. This is a wrap-up of the new biofutures projects plus a range of key events and conferences, new resources and funds.

Queensland number one in Bioenergy Australia report

The latest independent endorsement of Queensland's energy policy credentials is the Bioenergy state of the nation report. Bioenergy Australia's review of Australia's bioenergy sector, produced in collaboration with KPMG, highlights our work to develop this new industry.

The report rates Australia's states and territories on their policies to develop a bioenergy sector. This is based on the sector's economic and environmental sustainability and social licence to operate.

Queensland has been rated first, followed by South Australia and Victoria. 'What differentiates these jurisdictions,' states the report, 'is their policy objectives are better defined and more aligned to the bioenergy sector compared to other states and territories, and there is evidence of advocacy of the benefits and opportunities from bioenergy.'

The report's criteria, developed by KPMG, includes policy and project development, technology and feedstock diversity, and advocacy.

It notes that Queensland has 49 of Australia's 179 bioenergy projects. This is second only to New South Wales with 53.

Upon release of the report, [then] Acting State Development Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said: 'The endorsement by Bioenergy Australia is testament to the foresight of the Premier in identifying biofutures as a priority and actively pursuing investment opportunities for this industry, which is estimated to offer a $3.5 billion to $5 billion investment opportunity nationally.

'Through strong policies and best-practice approaches, Queensland is clearly leading other states and territories in identifying ways to accelerate this sector and reaping the rewards of this proactivity.'

Queensland hosts Bioenergy STRONG – and takes home the prize!

As Australia's leading state for biofutures, it was fitting that Queensland hosted Bioenergy Australia's 19th Annual Conference.  The theme of the conference was ‘Bioenergy STRONG – driving commercial outcomes'.

The three-day event was held at the State Library of Queensland. It attracted 360 diverse guests – a record number - from across the world. These included governments, corporations, energy organisations, industry bodies, suppliers and academics.

The program explored several big-picture topics, such as the:

  • future of Australia's bioeconomy and government-enabling bioenergy
  • role of waste to energy in solving Australia's waste challenge
  • role of biofuels in achieving emission reduction targets.

Several case studies provided insight and tips. These highlighted challenges to the successful deployment of bioenergy across the energy mix. They were also used to examine initiatives and lifecycle impacts of bio-products.

At the Bioenergy Australia Awards evening, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk received the inaugural Bioenergy Government Leadership Award. This award recognised the Queensland Government's commitment to Australia's bioeconomy, paving the way for Australia and our states.

The following morning, Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, the Hon. Cameron Dick, was present. He joined executives from AgBioEn, Virgin Australia, Caltex and Marabeni to discuss the future of aviation fuels in Australia.

Attendance at the conference exceeded expectations. Delegates and exhibitors – including Biofutures Queensland, Clean Energy Finance Corporation, ARENA/ABBA/ReNu, Evo Energy, QUT's Institute for Future Environments, Beasley's Hydraulic Services, Alvan Blanch, Optimal Group, Valmet, Ductor Pte Ltd, HRS Process Solutions and Finn Biogas – can expect an even more exciting conference in 2019.

Pictured: Biofutures Queensland's Nick Leontjew engages with delegates at his team's stand.

Women in biofutures

Pictured: Women in biofutures (L-R) Molly Chapman, Project Manager, Finn Biogas; Annette Cowie, Principal Research Scientist-Climate, NSW Department of Primary Industries; Diana O'Rourke, Senior Project Officer, Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, QUT; Heather Bone, Managing Director, RebusJ Sustainability; Shahana McKenzie, CEO, Bioenergy Australia; Cheryl Petith, Project Manager, Biofutures Queensland; Larissa Rose, Managing Director, Queensland Renewable Fuels Association; Ashley Muldrew, Senior Strategy Advisor, Australian Gas Infrastructure Group

Queensland delivers Australia's first sustainable aviation fuel

This first successful trial delivery of biojet is a massive milestone for Queensland. It's the first of its kind at any Australian airport, placing Brisbane alongside Los Angeles, Oslo, Stockholm, Geneva and Chicago to become one of only a handful of airports using sustainable aviation fuel.

The trial cements Brisbane's future as a regional biofuel hub. It strengthens our case for a biorefinery capable of making sustainable biojet from local biomass. Further fuel shipments will be trialled in the next 12 months for use by Virgin's domestic and international fleet.

The demonstration proves that  biojet can ‘drop in' to Brisbane Airport's refuelling system. This paves the way for long-term supply of biojet to all airlines flying into Brisbane's international and domestic airports.

The announcement was made by Queensland Government and Virgin Australia Airlines Group at Brisbane Airport on 11 September. It created a well-deserved flurry of local and national media attention.

The announcement came after almost two years of collaboration between Virgin Australia, Queensland Government, Brisbane Airport Corporation, US-based biofuel producer Gevo, Inc. and supply chain partners Caltex and DB Schenker to procure and blend sustainable aviation fuel with traditional jet fuel for supply into the fuel infrastructure at Brisbane Airport.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, the Hon. Cameron Dick, said the announcement "represents an opportunity for Queensland's biomass suppliers and for refineries such as Southern Oil, and international investment potential from Gevo, Mercurius and others, to reach production. That's great for Queensland farmers, and great for reducing Queensland's emissions."

The project could accelerate the use of aviation bio-fuels at other Queensland regional airports. Key agricultural regions including Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Bundaberg and Toowoomba. In turn, this would create more demand for Queensland biomass, like sugar cane, and more jobs in agriculture and biofutures across regional Queensland.

The trial is a tangible outcome from the Biofutures Forum the Queensland Government hosted with the US Navy in December 2016. At the event, industry said it was important for government to take a leadership role in biofuel industry development and support pioneering projects.

Virgin Australia Airlines

Pictured: Virgin Australia Airlines cabin crew members Deidre Peters and Sophie Pool flank (L-R): Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO, Gert-Jan de Graaf; Group Executive of Virgin Australia Airlines, Rob Sharp; Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk; Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick; and Caltex Executive General Manager Fuels and Infrastructure, Louise Warner.

$100 million Resource Recovery Industry Development Program (RRIDP)

The Resource Recovery Industry Development program is now open. This $100 million fund is to remove waste from landfill and revolutionise Queensland's recycling, resource recovery and biofutures industries.

Biofutures Queensland is administrating the RRIDP. The program will support a range of projects with significant employment and supply chain opportunities. These projects will create new products from waste, grow the industry and reduce the impact of waste on our environment.

The program offers three streams to address projects of varying scales and areas of focus:

  • Stream one is a round-based capital grants stream. These dollar-for-dollar grants are between $50,000 and $5 million to provide funding for infrastructure projects and capital investments in new processing and technological capabilities.
  • Stream two is a broad incentives stream. This is to attract or expand major resource recovery operations to deliver significant landfill diversion and resource recovery outcomes.
  • Stream three provides funding towards capital intensive, long-lifecycle projects that require support for investigations to assist with final investment decisions for Queensland.

Local governments, established businesses, not-for-profits and consortia looking to employ proven technologies for resource recovery can apply. They can use this funding and other support to improve existing operations or bring significant new facilities to Queensland. These operations or facilities can be anywhere along the supply chain, from collection and transfer to sorting and remanufacture, as well as waste-to-energy.

Stream one, round one, is closed and applications are being assessed. Streams two and three remain open. Read more about the program, including guidelines and applications.

$5 million waste-to-bioenergy fund

Queensland already boasts refineries that convert a variety of feedstocks such as sugar cane waste into biofuels. Now, an additional $5 million will be made available to increase the deployment of innovative waste-to-bioenergy projects in Queensland.

We will soon be providing grants of up to $1 million to develop demonstration and pilot plants that convert waste into energy. The aim is to replace conventional fossil fuel-based products with bioenergy, biofuels and bioproducts.

The grants will encourage the most up-to-date processes, equipment and technologies that are suitable for deployment across Queensland, particularly in regional areas. In turn, this will enable Queensland to rapidly advance waste-to-bioenergy projects that could translate to more long-term, high-value jobs and investment opportunities for many regions across the state.

The new fund complements the ongoing actions of the Queensland Biofutures 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan. The plan has seen investment of almost $20 million to position the state as an Asia-Pacific hub for the industrial biotechnology and bioproducts sector.

Report: Queensland delegation in the US at the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology

When a Queensland delegation visited the BIO World Congress in the USA in July 2018, it left Philadelphia with a lasting impression: Queensland is the place to do business in the Asia-Pacific region.

Trade mission

The delegation – including Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick; Michael Burke, Director of Biofutures Queensland; and Prof. Ian O'Hara, the inaugural Queensland Biofutures Industry Envoy – met with global leaders and companies interested in doing business in Queensland.

A meeting was held with advanced biofuel experts in the US Department of the Navy at the Pentagon. The meeting reaffirmed Queensland's commitment to potentially supply the US Navy with alternative fuels and to discuss Queensland's enormous potential as the biofuel hub of the Asia Pacific region.

While at the Pentagon, we announced the appointment of Queensland's new US-based Strategic Biofutures Advisor, Chris Tindal. Chris is the current Assistant Director of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative and the former Director of Operational Energy, US Navy.

Chris is leveraging his government and industry relationships to provide a direct connection between the Queensland Government and key global and domestic stakeholders. The aim is to help cement business relationships and projects for Queensland.

The delegation also visited Boeing in Arlington, Virginia. Here they discussed Queensland becoming home to Boeing's largest autonomous systems development program outside of the United States.

World Congress

The three-day BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology, held in Philadelphia, provided a unique opportunity for the Queensland Government. We directly engaged with the global bioindustrial community and revisit relationships from last year's World Congress in Montreal.

With more than 1000 global business leaders, investors and policy-makers, World Congress 2018 helped the Queensland delegation establish and strengthen direct relationships with many leading companies, individuals and institutions.

Queensland was the only Australian state or territory with a trade stand or speaking role at the congress. This further highlights our state's commitment to the sector and cements Queensland's position as the leading state in Australia's bioindustrial revolution.

The World Congress is a key forum for academic researchers and business, government and industry leaders to share the latest advances in renewable chemicals, synthetic biology, enzymes, food ingredients, biofuels, algae and more.

Speaking at the conference, Minister Dick said: "BIO World Congress was a prime opportunity to roll out the welcome mat for global companies to locate and grow industrial biotech business in Queensland. I have high hopes that reinforcing our position in the international bio community will translate into further investment and projects in our state."

The Queensland delegation took the opportunity to meet with representatives from Leaf Resources. We used the opportunity to confirm the company's next steps in advancing a regional Queensland biorefinery – likely in Bundaberg, Mackay, the Burdekin or Far North Queensland.

Leaf Resources, based at Eight Mile Plains in Brisbane, is proposing a biorefinery that would use patented technology known as Glycell. This will be used to speed up and reduce the cost of converting plant waste, like sugarcane fibre, into sustainable chemicals, biofuels and bioplastics.

"This is world-leading technology," explained Minister Dick, and it has the potential to attract other biorefinery companies to the state which are seeking the industrial sugars produced by the technology."

Leaf Resources will use funding from the Queensland Government's Biofutures Acceleration Program to embark on validation works and pre-feasibility studies into plant waste and biomass.

The delegation also engaged with other global leaders including Calysta, Lygos, Genomatica, Gevo, Agrisoma, and Mercurius Biorefining.

The successful mission gave a clear message to the world: Queensland is the place to do biofutures business in the Asia-Pacific region.

Find out more about the 2019 BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology.

At the World Congress

Pictured: (L to R) Mario Pennisi, CEO, Life Sciences Queensland; Professor Ian O'Hara, Queensland Biofutures Industry Envoy; Darryn Rackemann, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, QUT; Sach Jayasinghe, Director, Research Infrastructure, Institute for Future Environments, QUT; Diana O'Rourke, Senior Project Officer, Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, QUT; and Professor Sagadevan Mundree, Director, Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, QUT.

Below50 announcements

World Congress provided an ideal platform to announce Queensland has officially joined the global below50 campaign. The campaign supports the production and use of sustainable biofuels.

Minister Dick's signature to the Statement of Collaboration with United Nations-backed ‘below50 Australia' was a significant milestone. It made Queensland the first jurisdiction in the world to commit to pro-sustainable fuel policies. It also aligns with the Queensland Biofuel Mandate and the Queensland Climate Transition Strategy.

Queensland recommitted to its membership of below50 in November at an event at Parliament House in Brisbane. Minister Dick was joined by international members of the movement Including Dr Gerard Ostheimer, senior advisor of below50 from Washington, D.C., and Geneva-based Damiana Serafini, transport manager at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and global lead of below50.

Formalising this deal allows Queensland to build relationships and draw on the support and expertise of the below50 global community. This includes investors, businesses, biofuel producers and users, and government agencies.

The state will leverage opportunities for Queensland from below50 Australia's collaboration with stakeholders in the renewable fuel supply chain and promotion of the uptake of sustainable low-carbon fuels.

Larissa Rose, Managing Director of Queensland Renewable Fuels Association, the regional partner for below50 Global, said: "This is another great step forward towards building a bioeconomy in Queensland and I look forward to providing opportunities through the below50 global network to assist with delivering outcomes for the state.".


Pictured: (L-R) Damiana Serafini, Transport Manager at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and Global Lead of below50; Larissa Rose, Managing Director of Queensland Renewable Fuels Association; Minister Cameron Dick; and Gerry Ostheimer, below50 Senior Advisor.

Biomass data and mapping now available online

Are you a searching for the latest information on biomass feedstock for your project in Queensland?

The Biomass data and mapping tool helps project developers access and visualise information via an interactive dashboard. This offers up-to-date data on forestry, cropping, urban waste, intensive livestock, food processing and horticulture.

The dashboard links biomass suppliers with end users. This helps local businesses get more value from organic material destined for landfill, disposal or other low-value uses.

Biofutures Queensland is delivering this data in partnership with the Australian Biomass for Bioenergy Assessment – a project funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Check out the Biomass data and mapping tool.

Biofutures Market Capability reports

Two reports have been prepared by the Industry Capability Network (ICN) Queensland on behalf of Biofutures Queensland:

  • The Biofutures Biorefineries Capability Analysis 2018 showcases the capabilities of Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) Contractors with bases in Queensland to build Biorefineries in Queensland.
  • The Biofutures Market - Additional Industries Capability Analysis 2018 showcases the capabilities of EPC Contractors with bases in Queensland to build wind and solar power generation projects. The report also covers EPCs based in Australia, who are capable of building waste to energy projects.

Other news

Advancing Queensland's hydrogen industry

The Advancing Queensland's hydrogen industry discussion paper was released for public consultation in September 2018. The consultation is to help shape an economically sustainable and future-focused hydrogen industry in Queensland.

Consultation has closed and responses are being considered. You can read more about the strategy on the Advancing Queensland's hydrogen industry website.

Clean energy accelerator EnergyLab launches in Queensland

With the launch of its Brisbane office, EnergyLab Queensland is hoping to translate Queensland's clean energy and biotechnology ideas into commercial reality.

EnergyLab is Australia's leading clean energy accelerator and offers a variety of programs to help establish and grow clean energy businesses. It offers start-ups free office space for up to two years, plus networking opportunities, financial and mentoring support.

As part of our Queensland Biofutures 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan and our Queensland Climate Transition Strategy, we're  providing EnergyLab with $400,000 in operational funding.

EnergyLab receives seed capital for start-up companies via the Australian Government's Clean Energy Finance Corporation's (CEFC) $200 million Clean Energy Innovation Fund, and EnergyLab -Queensland is co-located at CEFC's office in the Brisbane CBD.

Four companies were selected to join the first Brisbane cohort:

  • Ƒluxpower, an electricity payments network that responds in real time
  • Charge Cube, an affordable, modular solar battery system targeted at the 1.2 billion people in developing countries living without electricity
  • Sunshine Cycles, a solar-powered electric bike hiring service
  • Cirlution, a biofutures start-up that plans to capture the maximum value from food waste and convert it into clean energy and heat.

A further intake of start-ups in Queensland will occur in early 2019.

Clean energy accelerator EnergyLab launches in Queensland

Pictured: The first Brisbane intake of Queensland EnergyLab's Acceleration Program (L-R) Luke Young, Jaine Morris, David Nelson, Ashleigh Morris, Mona von Contzen, Manfred Neustifter. Photo courtesy of EnergyLab.

Queensland on the world stage at the Global Bioeconomy Summit

Queensland's leadership of Australia's biofutures sector was in the spotlight when Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick and Queensland Biofutures Industry Envoy Professor Ian O'Hara attended the 2018 Global Bioeconomy Summit (GBS) in Germany.

Held in Berlin, the summit attracted 700 high-ranking bioeconomy representatives from more than 70 countries. Delegates came from politics, science, civil society and the business sector to discuss the latest developments and challenges in the global bioeconomy.

Minister Dick participated in a strategic debate that provided a platform to speak about Queensland's commitment to the biosector. He took the opportunity to outline the state's bioindustrial revolution, its future expansion and business incentives.

Professor O'Hara and Minister Dick also met with key German industry and government leaders. They discussed investment opportunities between Queensland and Germany, including potential project collaboration and attracting German projects to Queensland.

As a member of the GBS 2018 International Advisory Council, Prof. O'Hara also took the opportunity to raise awareness of Queensland's strategic competitive advantages for investment in this industry.

Global Bioeconomy Summit

Pictured: (L-R) Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Bishop and Chancellor, Pontificial Academy of Science; Minister Dick; Mauricio Lopes, President, Brazilian Agricultural Corporation. Photo courtesy of Global Bioeconomy Summit.

About Biofutures Queensland

Biofutures Queensland is your gateway for support from the Queensland Government. To find out more about the Queensland Government's vision for a $1 billion biofutures industry, discuss how we can help you with your biofutures project or tell us your good news story, contact us at

Last updated: Wednesday, Sep 25, 2019