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Qantas partnership to advance QLD green jet fuel industry

Qantas partnership to advance QLD green jet fuel industry

The Queensland State Government has signed an MoU with airline giant Qantas to unlock the state’s potential to manufacture sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) locally. 

The partnership will include exploring how to fully leverage sugarcane and agricultural by-products for biofuel production and the potential for developing new feedstock sources and processes.

More broadly, the parties will focus on developing a Queensland-based SAF supply chain.

SAF is yet to be manufactured in Australia at a commercial scale.

Qantas currently uses green aviation fuel sourced overseas and is targeting 10 per cent SAF in its fuel mix by 2030, and about 60 per cent by 2050.

The announcement, made during Australian Renewable Fuels Week, is the latest in a series of SAF wins for Queensland.

In March this year, the State Government, Qantas and Airbus announced support for Jet Zero Australia to commence a feasibility study for a new biorefinery in Queensland, which could produce up to 100 million litres of SAF a year.

The State Government has also partnered with Ampol and ENEOS, which will assess the feasibility of delivering an advanced biofuels manufacturing plant at Ampol’s Lytton site.

Oceania Biofuels also plans to build a commercial aviation fuel biorefinery in Gladstone, which could generate up to 350 million litres of SAF and renewable diesel each year.

“When it comes to decarbonising our skies, Queensland is the place to invest,” said deputy premier Steven Miles.

“Growing our SAF industry is one of those opportunities that will fuel Queensland’s economic future and contribute to decarbonisation targets.

“With our rich supply of feedstock and skilled workforce, Qantas, and the world, has recognised Queensland as an ideal location to establish an Australasian SAF supply chain.”

“Partnerships like this one with Qantas position Queensland as a SAF hub, along with the right mix of investment, government support and policy, and industry collaboration,” he added.

“Importantly, growing industries that will be in demand in a decarbonising world will create more good jobs for Queenslanders and new export opportunities.”

Qantas Group chief sustainability officer Andrew Parker said, “Air travel is a critical industry, especially in a state as big as Queensland with an economy that benefits so much from tourism. Having a clear plan to decarbonise air travel so we can keep connecting Queensland and Australia in the decades ahead is key for the future.

“Sustainable fuels are the most significant tool airlines currently have to reduce their emissions, particularly given they can be used in today’s engines and fuel delivery infrastructure with no modifications.

“Qantas will be the largest single customer for Australian-made SAF, so it’s fantastic that the Queensland Government is seeking to partner with us so we can work together on establishing the industry from the ground up.”

Queensland produces significant feedstock needed to make SAF, including tallow, sugarcane waste pulp, cereal cropping residues and pongamia.

SAF can be used in existing aircraft engines and airport refuelling infrastructure to cut carbon emissions typically by up to 80 per cent on a life cycle basis.

An Australian SAF industry could be worth $3 billion annually by 2030 and could create up to 15,600 jobs – mostly in regional areas – nationwide by 2050.

The new partnership with Qantas is further progress towards growing a local SAF industry under the Queensland Biofutures 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan.

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