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Project Details

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Integrated biomass-derived power generation in the Lachlan Shire
Summary Scope, prepare and develop a biomass supply chain, biomass power conversion technology and markets for product offtake within the Lachlan Shire. A cost efficient and sustainable biomass supply chain will be developed based on endemic mallee species (and also include endemic woody weeds) comparing new and existing technologies, infrastructure and logistics for growing, harvesting and processing biomass as a renewable fuel source for power generation.

Latest power conversion technologies will be evaluated to identify promising commercially proven technology to convert lignocelluosic (woody) fuel into heat and electricity, with the potential for other beneficial byproducts.

Markets for product offtake will include electrcitiy, Renewable Energy Certificates, carbon permits (either voluntary or regulatory depending on the available scheme) and potentially other products such as heat and beneficially useable residues (for example, ash and char).

The project will thus identify, within the Lachlan Shire, areas suitable for growing energy crops able to be incorporated in existing farming systems, providing a low risk 'drought tolerant' income stream. Underutilised areas and low productivity land as a supply base for bioenergy feedstock to establish a nodal power generation plant will be examined, in addition to a life cycle valuation of the economic and environmental impacts.

Benefits will include
direct farmer payments for biomass feedstock;
collateral benefits through greater biodiversity with trees on farms; and
significant increase in regional employment and support industries.

This project is supported by Lachlan Shire Council, I&I NSW, Lachlan CMA, Lachlan Shire farmers and the CRC Farm Future Industries.
Program Bioenergy, Bioproducts and Energy
Research organisation Aurora Practical Solutions Pty Ltd
Objective summary Identify suitable land based on current use, soils, climate, infrastructure (including road) and logistics
Understand farmer decision making psychometrics due to prolonged drought, generation change and new industry development
Identify potential farmer participants and determine integration criteria for their existing enterprises
Streamline production technology including land preparation (ripping and mounding), planting protocols, mechanical tree planting, water/polymer injection, plantation monitoring and management, chemical management, infield transport and handling to maximise operating efficiency and econometrics
Evaluation of latest harvesting technology, (Australian and international), for proposed mallee plantings and existing endemic woody weeds
Identify transport logistics to optimise freight efficiencies using current and new technology/infrastructure
Identify and compare potential technologies for the conversion of biomass into power on the basis of projected capital and operational expenditure
Evaluation of fuel handling and preparation requirements on site
Identify commercial partners for power technology and fuel handling and preparation equipment
Identify offtake partners for products and commercial terms (for example length of contract and prices to be paid)
Explore potential of fuel preparation (for example, as a pelletised fuel for domestic or international markets)
Establish collateral benefits, (for example, carbon sequestration, environmental biodiversity effects on food supply chain (stock shelters, crop windbreaks)
Evaluation of regional development through direct and indirect employment and flow on to associated industries
Identify sites, times and participants for group activities such as field days, etc.
Develop general farmer awareness through group activities and extension activities
Identify opportunities for skilled worker training, (for example, specialised machine operators, processing plant technicians)
Project Stage Closed
Project start date Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Project completion date Monday, June 25, 2012
Journal articles from project Not Available
National priority Frontier technologies for building and transforming Australian industries
Rural priority Advanced Technology
RIRDC goal BBE-Bioenergy, Bioproducts and Energy
Principal researcher John Larkin
Research manager Duncan Farquhar
Admin contact John Larkin