Alternative Fuels Australia

Biofuels target may cause “major biosecurity problem”

Posted by Car Geek on June 22, 2007


Australia could face its own “food or fuel” dilemma if the drought continues or worsens, according to a government research paper. If oil companies meet the 350 megalitre per year target for ethanol as outlined by the Federal government, Australia may need to import wheat from international sources to meet demand. Ethanol in Australia is made primarily from sugar cane and wheat crops, which yield more ethanol per hectare than the corn crops used mainly in the United States. However, despite this, worsening drought conditions may require the nation to import wheat to compensate for the loss of crops to ethanol production.

The future looks brighter, though, according to the report: cellulosic ethanol, or ethanol made from plant cells, produced using Australian crops may be able to provide anywhere between “10 and 140 per cent” of Australia’s transport needs. The reality of this is more complex, with no Australian manufacturers currently building flex-fuel vehicles (vehicles that run on 85% ethanol blends as well as unleaded petrol), but the potential for self-sufficiency is definitely there.



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