Fuel farms ready to go
THERE is nothing new or untried about the technology that fuelled Germany towards nearly winning the Second World War.
And just as Germany achieved wartime self-sufficiency, without any oil reserves, to run their (almost successful) war effort, two Anderleigh farmers believe the same technology could be used to turn their Bana grass crop into what Bevan Dooley describes as "real diesel, not biodiesel".
Importantly, all the carbon pollution generated by people driving vehicles and machinery on their diesel fuel or petrol comes from the air in the first place, heading the growing and treatment process towards being greenhouse neutral and potentially earning significant carbon credits for growers.
"Carbon tax? Bring it on!" said land owner (and Bevan's father) Dick Dooley.
"The Germans made fuel for their war effort from German brown coal and this uses the same process," Bevan Dooley said at the 40-acre family property yesterday.
"We're growing planting material here, with the aim of helping farmers develop a major crop (10,000ha), which would keep a fuel refinery operational and would convert to about 13.8 million litres of diesel and petrol a year.
Bevan's credibility comes from his experience as a major pioneer of Australian bio-fuels.
"I designed and built Australia's biggest bio-diesel refinery at Narangba," he said.
"But with the technology we are talking about now, you make diesel, not bio-diesel, so the fuel can be used with no issues affecting engines whatsoever."
"It's just biomass," he says of the product of the sugar cane look-alike plant that covers the family property now.
It is the perfect crop for some marginal land, too infertile or with rainfall too intermittent, including sugar cane.
He says the collapse of the biodiesel industry was partly because it produced fuel which had to be blended into regular petroleum-based fuels, as is the case with ethanol. "Fuels produced by this process, however, are identical to fuels on the Australian market today and meet all relevant standards."
The Dooley's say their project adds up, even without the carbon tax.