Former US Navy operational energy director Chris Tindal and QUT's Dr Ian O'Hara.
Former US Navy operational energy director Chris Tindal and QUT's Dr Ian O'Hara. QUT Marketing and Communication/

How sugar and fat could power Queensland

IN A past life Chris Tindal convinced the US Navy to fuel a carrier group on beef fat.

Now the global biofuels expert is turning his attention to using building a biofuels industry in central and north Queensland.

The Queensland University of Technology adjunct professor visited the Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant at the Mackay sugar factory on Wednesday.

Before joining QUT, Professor Tindal was the US Navy director of operational energy. In that role, he was part of the US Navy's Great Green Fleet that fuelled a strike carrier group on diesel made from beef tallow.

He said Queensland had a great opportunity to make the most of a burgeoning industry.

"The agricultural industry here already produces the products needed to start this industry,” he said.

"Be that beef tallow or sugar, Queensland is very well positioned to become a major biofuels player.

Prof Tindal said Queensland beef tallow was already exported to Singapore for processing.

"But ideally a new facility could be established locally to process beef tallow. Then that could be used in Australia and even exported to the USA and Europe,” he said.

Prior to visiting the Mackay pilot plant, Prof Tindal met with state and local government politicians at the Local Government Association of Queensland annual conference in Gladstone on Tuesday.

"I'm mainly trying to get the message across that there is a demand signal for bioproducts and that there is great potential for Queensland to do some really good business with biofuels,” he said.

"We've done the research, we have the raw products, now we need to keep building the facilities and the funding because the demand is growing.”

Professor Tindal pointed to Qantas's plan to power its Los Angeles-based planes with biofuel from 2020 and Virgin Airlines's two-year trial to supply biofuels at Brisbane Airport.

He said Queensland also had an opportunity to supply the US Navy with biofuels - a project the Queensland Government has supported. - NewsRegional



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