NQ solution to a major Australian security problem

DEVELOPING a renewable based jet fuel, potentially from North Queensland products, could solve a potential Australian security problem - a shortage of aviation fuel.

American company Gevo is working with Virgin Australia to develop a potentially sugar-based fuel to use in planes in Queensland.

Speaking from Denver, Colorado, Gevo chief executive officer Patrick Gruber said there was only a small amount of jet fuel in reserves in Australia.

The latest statistics from the Department of the Environment and Energy show there was enough aviation fuel in reserve to last Australia 22 days at the end of June.

"It's like, are you kidding me, everyone is very worried," Mr Gruber said.

"If Australia thinks that's secure, I say 'are you kidding me' in these times.

"If anything happens in the South China Sea then you have a problem."

Mr Gruber said a new product like biojet fuel would give more security to Australia.

"So there's a big strategic component to this all," he said.

Gevo's plan is to start a trial of sustainable aviation fuel through Brisbane Airport's fuel supply system.

The fuel could be derived from sustainable sources including sugarcane bagasse, molasses, wood waste and agave - some of these are abundant in North Queensland.

Mr Gruber said there was an abundance of natural resources in Australia, particularly in Queensland, that could potentially be used for fuel.

"We are looking for partners that want to share that dream and make it happen," he said.

"We don't have the ability to produce sugar so we need a partner."

Mr Gruber said Gevo did not have a partner yet for the fuel production side of the idea, so they were looking for interested parties, including in North Queensland.

"One of the questions is the supply chain cost," he said.

"Our dream would be to have a factory in Queensland at some point."

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