Innovation on the Central Coast where a supercritical reactor is at the heart of a plan to produce marine diesel quality fuel from biomass

The Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson AM MP, and the Member for Robertson, Belinda Neal, have inspected progress at the home of biofuel innovation on the Central Coast where a supercritical reactor is at the heart of a plan to produce marine diesel quality fuel from biomass.

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Somersby’s Licella Pty Ltd successfully bid for $2.3 million in matching funds from the Australian Government’s $15 million Second Generation Biofuels Research and Development Program.

Licella’s ground-breaking technology aims to take inedible waste such as timber residues or sawdust and turn it into fuel through a process called lignocellulosics.

Speaking during a visit to the site today, Minister Ferguson applauded Licella’s innovative approach.

“The next generation of biofuels is important to Australia’s energy security and our response to the challenge of climate change,” he said. “Unlike the contemporary biofuels, second generation biofuels will not compete directly with the food industry for resources or markets. They provide unique opportunities to supplement existing fuel supplies in a low-carbon, low-cost way.”

Ms Neal said: “I’m delighted that Licella has put Somersby and the Central Coast on the energy map for the next generation of biofuel technology. What happens here may prove to be a viable, cleaner-burning alternative to petroleum products without driving up grocery prices. Australia is looking at a $25 billion trade deficit in petroleum products by 2015 so there’s no time to lose.”

Second generation biofuels can be produced from ‘waste’ materials such as wheat straw, forestry residues, algae, grasses and materials grown on land that would be unsuitable for traditional food crops. It is hoped they can play an important part in Australia’s energy future, diversifying fuel sources at a time when global competition for existing fossil fuels is getting tougher.

The Second Generation Biofuels Research and Development Program is part of the Australian Government’s $4.5 billion Clean Energy Initiative and aims to bolster Australia’s energy security and deliver an environmental benefit at the same time.

Licella Pty Ltd is one of seven recipients of Second Generation Biofuels Research and Development Program funding announced by Minister Ferguson last month.

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