The Australian government, through its Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), has launched a A$30m ($20m) funding initiative to support the development of a Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) industry in the country. 

The funding will be offered to commercial or pre-commercial SAF production operations and will be used to fund pilot scale and pre-commercial demonstrations or to “support engineering feasibility and project development activities”. 

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said: “With abundant agriculture, waste and residue resources, Australia has the potential to support a thriving domestic biofuel industry. 

“This is about utilising our natural advantages to reduce emissions and make the most of the economic opportunities on offer.” 

Applicants to the initiative, which closes to expressions of interest on 1 November 2023, will receive funding between A$1m ($668,070) and A$30m ($20m) for their work. 

ARENA has said that the scope of the funding could cover operations across the supply chain from feedstock supply to SAF production. 

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The potential of a SAF industry in Australia has been touted by companies across the aviation industry in the country in recent years, with the government first allocating the A$30m funding to ARENA back in November 2021. 

Additionally, airline giant Qantas will work with Western Sydney International Airport on developing SAF projects as part of their partnership, as well as continuing its A$290m ($193.7m) collaboration with Airbus on the issue as part of its climate fund. 

While the country’s aviation industry makes up approximately 1% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, Miller said it was essential to discover the island nation’s role in decarbonising the wider industry: “For a country so reliant on aviation for passenger and freight transport, it’s essential that we find ways to reduce emissions from this critical sector.” 

Aviation was first identified as a “hard-to-abate” industry by the government in the Australia Bioenergy Roadmap, which outlined the role that the bioenergy sector can play in the country’s energy transition.