Could biofuels generate $1.1b additional revenue in regional areas?

Increased use of 10 per cent ethanol-blended petrol (E10) in Australia could create more than 8600 direct and indirect jobs, attract $1.56 billion in investment and generate more than $1.1 billion in additional revenue each year in regional areas, a new report by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) researchers has found.

The report, Biofuels to bioproducts: a growth industry for Australia, outlines the status of the biofuels and bioproducts sectors in Australia and overseas, and identifies opportunities for Australia to build more profitable and sustainable agricultural industries that produce biofuels and bioproducts such as chemicals, plastics, enzymes and surfactants from crop residues, wastes and energy crops.

Report lead author Professor Ian O'Hara, principal research scientist at QUT's Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, said the first step to creating a successful Australian bioeconomy was to grow our bioethanol and other biofuels industries.

"Biofuels are the gateway to creating a bioeconomy, and biofuels production and consumption in Australia lags behind benchmark countries such as the United States and Brazil," Professor O'Hara said.

"It is clear that biofuels industries can grow economies, particularly in regional and rural areas where there is an abundance of agriculture residue that can be transformed into high-value bioproducts.

"Bioethanol, which is the cleanest alternative for increasing the octane content of petrol and improving fuel and vehicle performance, is one example."

The report proposes a five-point plan to grow Australia's biofuels and bioproducts industry, including developing a national biofuels and bioeconomy strategy, implementing a national biofuels mandate or target that supports higher quality fuel standards, and supporting commercial development through industry-research collaborations.

The full report is available on the QUT website.