Logistics News

Ethtec welcomes investment in ethanol production project

Arena and JTL to help fund development of Hunter Valley biofuel facility


Ethanol Technologies (Ethtec) has found two backers to support the development of its advanced biofuel technology in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley region.

Both Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena ) and leading industry partner JiangSu Jin Tong Ling Fluid Machinery Technology Company (JTL) will invest $11.9 million each in the project that will see the production of ethanol from a range of non-food waste plant matter left over from crop harvesting and forestry.

The $48 million project involves the construction of a $30 million purpose-built pilot demonstration plant.

Much like JTL’s investment, Australian federal agency ARENA’s funding will go towards the completion of the facility.

Ethtec chief scientist Russell Reeves says the investment was pivotal to the project.

“JTL’s financial contribution will not only enable completion of the pilot plant but their overall involvement in the project will greatly assist in commercialising the Ethtec process both within Australia and internationally,” Reeves says.

“The Arena funding is pivotal to the total investment in the project by the private and public sectors.

“Ethtec wishes to thank Arena for its invaluable assistance in achieving this outcome.

“An ethanol fuel industry based on lignocellulosic biomass can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transport and industrial sectors, create opportunities for regional and rural communities, make crop and forest production more economical and assist in land rehabilitation.

“With the support of the Australian Government, we are hoping to engineer a more cost-competitive process for producing ethanol that will make use of existing biomass materials and create a world-leading facility for advanced biofuels.”

The Ethtec pilot plant project is being undertaken in four phases, with each phase incorporating new technologies and addressing associated technical risks.

With demand for ethanol in Australia is expected to increase by approximately 500 million litres each year to 2030, Arena CEO Ivor Frischknecht says the next phases of the project will be important in making advanced biofuels a viable option to support emission reduction for the transport sector.

“Advanced biofuels provides an exciting opportunity for Australia to open up export avenues and also help reduce emissions from the transport sector,” Frischknecht says.

“Ethtec’s facility in the Hunter Valley will demonstrate a new and innovative process for the production of bioethanol, gaining pivotal research and development experience that will lead to the commercialisation of the process and position Australia as a leader in advanced biofuels.

“The global demand for biofuels is expected to triple by 2050, with most of the growth to be met by ethanol so technological breakthroughs that make producing ethanol from waste more efficient is game changing.”

The facility will partner with researchers from the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources at the University of Newcastle and is expected to receive support from the Muswellbrook Shire Council.

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