By Mark Breen, ABC News CanberraA new study by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and University of New South Wales (UNSW) has found that the country’s renewable energy and fuel efficiency initiatives have resulted in significant reductions in the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its major industries.
Key points:The study was funded by the Department of Energy and the Environment and has been published in the Australian Journal of OceanographyThe research shows that biofuels are the best bet for lowering greenhouse gas levelsThe research has been conducted on a range of industrial processes, from fish farms to factories, and on a number of different biofuel projectsThe researchers used data from the World Energy Outlook database to identify industries in which biofuel production is expected to increase in the future.
“The main driver for this increase is the adoption of biofuil alternatives and the increased use of renewable fuels, especially solar and wind, which has already driven substantial reductions in CO2 emissions in Australia,” said lead author Professor Michael Beeson from AIMS.
“We estimate that the economic benefits of biofuel use will outweigh the economic costs of CO2 reductions.”
Our results are consistent with previous research that suggests that biofueled production reduces CO2, especially in low-income countries where consumption of renewable energy is particularly low,” Professor Beeson said.
The report says that bioenergy has been used in Australia’s food supply and is used to power vehicles, power homes, and power industrial processes such as farming, fishing, and forestry.”
It has also been widely used to make biofujects, and has generated significant CO2 reduction,” Professor David O’Neill from UNSW said.”
There is a clear trend towards more and more people becoming interested in biofuel alternatives.
“Professor Beeson and Dr O’Neil said that this is because of the environmental and social benefits associated with using biofuils.”
Many people are making an environmental and economic decision to switch to biofuel instead of conventional fossil fuels, and this is largely driven by concerns about climate change,” Dr O ‘Neill said.
But the research found that biofeedback systems are particularly important for improving performance.”
Biodiesel is a very low carbon product, and the carbon savings can be significant in terms of CO₂ emissions,” Dr Beeson added.”
This study suggests that the cost-benefit analysis of biofeedbacks and other systems may be a useful guide for governments to consider.””
Biofuel use may be an appropriate alternative to fossil fuels in low income countries, where demand for biofuel is very low,” he said.’
High costs’ for renewable energyThe study found that although biofuel could reduce CO2 by about 15 per cent, it would still require $2.4 trillion in economic investment over the next five decades.”
These results show that biocarbon technology is a high-cost, high-reward technology that should not be overlooked,” Professor O’Neills said.
He said the study has implications for the Australian government’s efforts to increase renewable energy use and encourage investment in renewable energy projects.”
In terms of its social benefits, the study provides strong evidence that bio fuel is a more socially effective and cost-effective means of achieving sustainable energy and climate change mitigation than conventional fossil fuel projects,” he added.
Professor Beeden said the cost of using biofuel will vary depending on the type of plant, the technology used, and whether it is biofuel or not.”
If we want to reduce emissions from biofuel sources, then the costs of bioenergy will need to be considered in all scenarios, and for some biofuel technologies it will need a high cost,” he explained.
Topics:environmental-impact,environmental,energy-and-environmentalcompetitiveness,fossil-fuel-production,environment,science-and,technology,federal—state-issues,environment-policy,energy,australia,act,canberra-2600Contact James CottamMore stories from Australia