News

Turning trees into plane fuel could save region's farmers

A GLADSTONE councillor is branching out into a realm of strange possibility - planes fuelled by trees.

Beef industry stalwart and Gladstone regional councillor Leo Neill-Ballantine is leading the charge for a new fuel production industry in the Gladstone region.

He wants to turn unwanted trees on farms into aviation fuel and gas.

A CSIRO study into aviation biofuel production has shown bioenergy production could be a winner in central Queensland, Cr Neill-Ballantine told the Gladstone Regional Council this week.

He said farmers in the region were suffering from drought and could do with another income stream, and needed to become more resilient to drought.

"Some off-farm income is good, but as a country we need to get better at dealing with drought," he said.

"We've got kangaroos that can withhold pregnancy during a drought.

"It didn't evolve like that because it thought it was a good party trick. It's been (very) dry here a long time.

"So why, as a nation, aren't we trying to drought proof ourselves?"

Queensland is in the midst of the longest drought in its history. This month, Gladstone joined a long list of areas declared drought affected.

Farmers in the adjoining Banana Shire, next to Gladstone, are doing it so tough that their mayor announced on Wednesday the payment period for rates and water bills would be extended.

CSIRO researcher Dr Deborah O'Connell said the first phase of her project, which is now published, found biomass production for fuels and grazing could go hand in hand in central Queensland.

"We're looking specifically at using regrowth," she said. "Farmers already have to regularly clear regrowth.

"The biomass production system could be managed and harvested, with harvested biomass used to make renewable aviation fuel and gasoline.

"Early desktop studies show it is feasible and potentially economic, but we need to test these ideas on the ground.

"It's more than just a random dream," said Dr O'Connell, whose team is building partnerships with industry and seeking funds for the next phase of research.

Cr Neill-Ballantine is excited. He said the more he inspects the idea, the better it looks.

The CSIRO research team is establishing partnerships with Boeing, Queensland Department Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Queensland University of Technology, University of Sunshine Coast, CQUniversity, Agforce and Biofuel producers.

Topics:  biofuel, central queensland, csiro, environment, farming, gladstone regional council, leo neill-ballantine




Here's 7 really cool jobs up for grabs in Gladstone

Reef off Heron Island - Courtesy of GAPDL

Ever wanted to live and work on an island?

REVEALED: Suburbs hit by thieves. Has your street been targeted?

HOTSPOTS: Suburbs targeted by thieves.

Since January there have been 151 reports of unlawful entry

Watch our reporter squirm taking on death by chicken wings challenge

Could you take on Central Lane Hotel's death by chicken wing challenge?

Could you take on Gladstone's death by wings challenge?

Latest deals and offers

Courtney Stodden gets Reborn Doll

Courtney Stodden is trying to get over her recent miscarriage

Kate McKinnon 'destitute' before SNL

Kate McKinnon says she can't do anything but act

FBI investigating Leslie Jones website hack

The FBI are investigating Leslie Jones' personal website hack

Katy Perry: 'I stay normal with therapy'

Katy Perry says she relies on therapy to help her 'stay normal'

World's highest-paid actor revealed

The highest-paid actors in the world have been revealed

Jessica Alba regrets her tattoos

Jessica Alba regrets getting her tattoos

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Gladstone landlords in trouble with Bechtel job losses

"If a big project was announced tomorrow I wouldn't want to see it"