Producing biofuels using microbes
Producing biofuels using microbes

Project keywords

Systems Biology, Systems Biotechnology, Energy, Sustainability, Biofuel, Sugarcane, Pongamia, Algae, Technoeconomics, Fermentation, Synthetic Biology

Project summary

The Queensland Sustainable Aviation Fuel Initiative was born out of an aviation industry desire for genuinely sustainable aviation fuels that will match current performance standards. The initiative was established through a Queensland Government National and International Research Alliances Program grant that brought together a consortium of university biofuel experts and industry for the AU$6.5 million first stage of the program. The second phase to evaluate a production facility business case is funded through the Queensland Government’s Research Partnerships Program.

  • AIBN has led the development of detailed, open and transparent techno-economic engineering models that evaluate the production of biofuels from three different biomass sources (sucrose from sugar cane; oil from the seeds of the Pongamia tree; and autotrophic microalgae). The results have been published in a leading international journal and will inform researchers and other community stakeholders. The results suggest where future research and development would have the greatest impact on the feasibility and lowering the cost of biofuel production.
  • Boeing has performed detailed lifecycle analyses on the production of biofuel from the three feed stocks to evaluate sustainability.
  • A wiki website is providing a forum to disseminate all of the results and for interactive feedback, review, updating of results and discussion. The aim of the wiki is to provide clarity and consensus on biofuel production feasibility for scientists, engineers, government and the wider community.
  • AIBN has strong expertise in microbe engineering, and systems and synthetic biology, which are being used to develop and improve the process of converting sugarcane to aviation fuel. 

Project contacts

Lead investigator Professor Lars Nielsen
Research group Nielsen Group
Contact email r.speight@uq.edu.au

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