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Winners announced for Australia’s first bioenergy awards

Four innovative bioenergy projects and the Premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk have been awarded top honours at the inaugural Bioenergy Innovation Awards Dinner held at the State Library of Queensland.

The awards showcase Australia’s ambition in developing innovative bio-based alternatives for heat, power and liquid fuels and how these projects are taking significant steps towards seeing the $3.5 to $5 billion investment potential of the sector.

Shahana McKenzie, Bioenergy Australia CEO, said, “Bioenergy is the subject of considerable interest and investment world-wide, due to its enormous potential to reduce carbon emissions and drive a more sustainable energy future.”

The awards are recognition for the terrific breadth and scope of the bioenergy project work being undertaken across Australia.”

McKenzie was delighted Premier Palaszczuk was selected for the Government Leadership Award, “I commend Premier Palaszczuk on her state-leading policy vision and commitment to the bioenergy industry that we know will create thousands of jobs and attract billions in new investment, particularly across regional Australia – Queensland is set to reap a lot of those benefits.”

The awarded projects challenge the status quo of the energy sector, build on the early pioneering work and showcase the potential for Australia to be a world-class bioenergy player.”

The five major winners are:

Government Leadership Award – Premier of Queensland Annastacia Palaszczuk MPQueensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s leadership and commitment to Australia’s bio-economy received top accolades. Under the Premier’s leadership, a 10-year Roadmap and Action Plan (The Plan) has been developed by the Queensland Government to support the growth of Queensland’s bio-economy showing how the state could be established as a premium location. The Plan has already identified 15 current projects that represent a potential investment of around $1.4 billion and 2,500 new jobs in rural and regional communities if they progress as planned. “The integrated approach is paving the way for Australia to develop a sustainable, export-oriented industrial biotechnology and bioproducts sector by 2026. The plan shows a pathway which recognises Queensland’s mix of natural resources, skilled workforces, world-class research and development and supporting supply chain industries,” said McKenzie.

Large Scale Bioenergy Innovation Award – Biogas Renewables (WA)A first of its kind project for Australia converting food waste to energy has received top honours in the large-scale bioenergy category. Perth-based, Biogass Renewables, has commissioned a plant that will take between 35,000 and 50,000 tonnes per annum of food waste, which is capable of producing between 2.4MW – 2.6MW of energy. “Their innovative application of anaerobic digestion is a major advancement for the Australian market.  We look forward to seeing their ambitions come to fruition in other locations around Australia in the years to come,” said McKenzie.

Small-Scale Bioenergy Innovation Award- Meredith Dairy (VIC)
Meredith Dairy was given the gong for its successful demonstration of a holistic, integrated solution at small scale. Their project replaced their gas boiler unit with a boiler fuelled by sustainably-sourced biomass materials using wood chips. “The project typified their already known commitment to sustainability,” said McKenzie.

Community Leadership Award – Pyrenees Shire Council (VIC)Pyrenees Shire Council in regional Victoria was recognised for its large-scale collaborative project which focussed on converting straw and straw pellets to energy. “The power of collaborative enthusiasm and effort to get a community of stakeholders to not only plan together but to get a project up and running was impressive,” said Ms McKenzie. This project follows on from the successful local installation of a wood chip heating system at the Beaufort hospital replacing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) . The group is now looking at opportunities to develop a straw-based bioenergy plant to power Skipton hospital.

Research Leadership Award – Australian Biomass for Bioenergy Assessment
A large-scale national collaboration of states, industry and universities has created the platform the Australian Biomass for Bioenergy Assessment, to enable better links between biomass suppliers and end users. The platform will support local businesses to get more value from organic material. “This landmark project has resulted with this tool securing itself as a global leader in the spatial mapping of the availability and location of biomass,” said McKenzie. “The datasets are being used by governments, universities and industry in developing the bioenergy industry and informing and driving policy direction.”
Partners include the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), University of the Sunshine Coast, Sustainability Victoria, Renewables SA, Queensland University of Technology, Department of State Growth, Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation, Department of Primary Industries, Department of Agriculture and Food (WA).

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