Biofuels: benefits, sustainability, opportunities for Australia


Aim 1) To provide credible quantification of benefits, sustainability impacts and opportunities of biofuels, 2) to assess a range of emerging technology options, and 3) to provide reliable knowledge on which industry and government could base their decisions.
Time period 2005-2016
Disciplines Agriculture, forestry, hydrology, greenhouse gas accounting, process engineering, chemistry, biochemistry, mathematics, and economics.
Stakeholders Energy, agriculture and forestry sectors; aviation; companies and large global corporations; policy makers at state and national government levels; non-government organizations including World Wildlife Fund and Australian Conservation Foundation; international governments; and various local communities.
Research integration outcome Research findings were integrated across multiple value chains, multiple industry sectors and different types of emerging technology, aquatic and terrestrial production systems, time periods from current to future, different types of stakeholders, and local to global scales.
Research implementation outcomes Project results influenced positions of various stakeholders and their investments, the blueprint for aviation industry targets and commitments, national research and development plans for Australia, and the international standard for sustainability “Sustainability Criteria for Bioenergy” ISO 13065:2015.
  • Bioenergy Research, Development and Extension Advisory Forum and Technical Working Groups. (2011). Opportunities for primary industries in the bioenergy sector: National research, development and extension strategy. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Publication number 11/079: Canberra, Australia. (Online): (PDF 1.6MB)
  • Crawford, D. F., O’Connor, M. H., Jovanovic, T., Herr, A., Raison, R. J., O’Connell, D. A. and Baynes, T. (2016). A spatial assessment of potential biomass for bioenergy in Australia in 2010, and possible expansion by 2030 and 2050. Global Change Biology: Bioenergy, 8: 707-722. (Online) (DOI):
  • Farine, D. R., O’Connell, D. A., Raison, R. J., May B. M., O’Connor, M. H., Crawford, D. F., Herr, A., Taylor, J. A., Jovanovic, T., Campbell, P. K., Dunlop, M. I. A., Rodriguez, L. C., Poole, M. L., Braid, A. L. and Kriticos, D. (2012). An assessment of biomass for bioelectricity and biofuel, and for greenhouse gas emission reduction in Australia. Global Change Biology: Bioenergy, 4: 148-175.
  • Graham, P., Reedman, L., Rodriguez, L., Raison, J., Braid, A., Haritos, V., Brinsmead, T., Hayward, J., Taylor, J. and O’Connell, D. (2011). Sustainable aviation fuels road map: Data assumptions and modelling. CSIRO: Canberra, Australia.
  • Hayward, J. A., O’Connell, D. A., Raison, R. J., Warden, A. C., O’Connor, M. H., Murphy, H. T., Booth, T. H., Braid, A. L., Crawford, D. F., Herr, A, Jovanovic, T, Poole, M. L., Prestwidge, D, Raisbeck-Brown, N. and Rye, L. (2015). The economics of producing sustainable aviation fuel: A regional case study in Queensland, Australia. Global Change Biology: Bioenergy, 7: 497-511. (Online) (DOI):
  • International Standards Association. (2015). Sustainability criteria for bioenergy. ISO 13065: 2015, ISO/TMBG (Technical Management Board – groups). (Online):
  • O’Connell, D. and Haritos, V. S. (2010). Conceptual investment framework for biofuels and biorefineries research and development. Biofuels, 1: 201-216.
  • O’Connell, D., Haritos, V., Graham, S., Farine, D., O’Connor, M., Batten, D., May, B., Raison, J., Braid, A. & Dunlop, M. (2007). Bioenergy, bioproducts and energy: A framework for research and development. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation: Canberra, Australia.
  • O’Connell, D., Braid, A., Raison, J., Handberg, K., Cowie, A., Rodriguez, L. and George, B. (2009). Sustainable production of bioenergy: A review of global bioenergy sustainability frameworks and assessment systems. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation: Canberra, Australia.