Resources and Energy Minister Gary Gray will today unveil the first “green crude” produced by Muradel Pty Ltd from microalgae at pilot scale, an achievement that could usher in a whole new industry in Australia.
“Biofuels made from algae alone have the potential to displace up to 30 billion litres approximately, of fuel each year, according to an Advanced Biofuels Study commissioned by the Australian Government,” Mr Gray said.
“Australia is in a strong position to capitalise on the growing global biofuel market, with companies like Muradel leveraging our abundance of sun and space to grow sustainable feedstocks, and applying their expertise to drive down the cost of advanced biofuels.”
Muradel converted the algae to green crude as part of a $10.7 million project supported by a $4.4 million investment from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
In the next phase of the project, Muradel will construct a scaled-up demonstration plant near Whyalla, South Australia, to further reduce the cost of producing the green crude.
“This is a great example of ARENA investing in an emerging renewable energy technology to progress it along the innovation chain towards commercialisation,” Mr Gray said.
“If commercialised, Muradel’s green crude could be used as a sustainable alternative to diesel and aviation fuel and would help reduce carbon emissions in sectors, such as mining and transport, which rely on these fuels.”
The site at Whyalla has been approved by the Whyalla Council and Muradel has started to design the demonstration plant, the tendering process and community consultation.
The demonstration plant is scheduled for completion early next year.
“There is an opportunity for the Whyalla region to be a front runner in a new advanced biofuels industry, with regional employment opportunities through the construction of the demonstration plant, and potentially, Australia’s first commercial algae-to-green crude plant,” Mr Gray said.
ARENA is a $3 billion Government-funded organisation. It is working with industry to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia. It is part of the Government’s Clean Energy Future package.
Australian Government for Resources and Energy, press release, 2013-06-14.