The Avalon Air Show saw a lively exchange of ideas about aviation biofuels in general and Australia’s opportunities in particular.
The Australian aviation biofuel objective is ambitious, established in 2011, the aim is for 5 per cent of aviation fuels to come from sustainable fuels by 2020, representing two commercial-scale plants. By 2050 the target is 50% sustainable fuels. Forestry residues, stubble, bagasse, seed oils, tallow pongamia, algae, coppice and eucalyptus trees are the biofuel ideas. It is thought that ultimately 4.5 gigalitres can be obtained from lignocellulose, sustainably, over 1 billion US gallons per year.
Another contender that has intrigued by Airbus is mallee, an oilseed crop. It is thought 14,700 hectares of existing capacity would be available in the near term, just in one region they studied in Victoria. Producing 150,000 bone-dry tons of biomass would result in 85,000 tons of bio-oil which could be upgraded to 12-18 mega litres of jet fuel.