CSIRO synthesises $5m fuel future

The Australian government has invested $5 million into a Synfuel and Catalysis Research Facility (Syncat) to search for alternative energies.

As a public private partnership, the CSIRO has worked with Chevron on the project housed at the Australian Resources Research Centre in Western Australia’s Technology Park.

Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson said the facility is part of the government’s commitment to enhance Australia’s energy security.

“We have a growing trade deficit in crude oil and refined products, at the same time we are seeking new ways to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Ferguson said.

According to Mr Ferguson, synthetic fuels and research into new gas-to-liquid technologies can potentially reduce Australia’s dependence on imports and provide cleaner burning transport fuel alternatives.

Mr Ferguson said the government has provided the CSIRO with $3 billion over the next four years in the 2011-2012 Budget to support research and development.

CSIRO’s Gas Processing and Conversion research program is the parent scheme for the Syncat facility, which is looking for ways to make synthetic fuel from non-oil or non-conventional feedstocks.

Syncat will produce synfuels from natural gas, coal, hydrogen, biomass, and can be run by itself for months at a time with two reactor rigs testing at temperatures of up to 450 degrees.


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