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QUT Supports Commercialisation of the BioCube 250™

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Queensland University of Technology as their machine is commissioned and grant application submitted.

The BioCube 250 ™ undergoing tests at QUT’s facility at Mackay, Queensland, February 2011

The BioCube 250™ at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) sustainable fuels pilot plant at Mackay has been fully commissioned and QUT with BFP have applied for a grant from the Queensland Sustainable Energy Innovation Fund to conduct a comprehensive programme to test alternative bio-oil feedstocks.

In 2010, QUT completed the development of the Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant (MRBPP) – a unique pilot scale facility for the development and demonstration of sustainable biofuel technologies in Australia. The $10 million facility was funded by the Australian Government through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy, the Queensland Government and QUT. The facility aims to connect technology providers, innovators, feedstock suppliers and investors to rapidly promote the development of sustainable biofuel technologies.

QUT leased the first pre-production BioCube unit from The Biofuels Partnership in October 2010 to assist in the further development and demonstration of the technology and to enable the testing of biodiesel production from different feedstock.

Ian O’Hara, Senior Research Fellow at QUT and their BioCube(TM) project leader said:

“QUT is keen to support The Biofuel Partnership in the commercial development of the BioCube and is pleased to support this application to the Queensland Sustainable Energy Innovation Fund for the ongoing development and testing of the unit with a wide variety of feedstock.”

Technical Director Sandy Kelly and Technical Manager Jamie Seehars have recently been in Mackay to update the BioCube™ to the latest technical specifications which will enable it to experiment with a wider variety of oils for biodiesel production.

“We’ve changed a number of elements in the mixer to make the installation even more compact whilst retaining its accessibility and improving the long term operating characteristics.  We also took the opportunity to prepare the machine to accept an optional centrifuge and install more flexibility in the catalyst and chemical dosing systems to permit specifications to be adjusted over a wider range to suit the specific characteristics of each type of oil being processed. ” said Mr Kelly.

“We plan to install an optional centrifuge to the QUT machine, which will enable the University to test raw bio-oils with high concentrations of Free Fatty Acids (FFA’s).”

Trials at the QUT facility will assist Australian industry and BFP advance knowledge of bio-oil processing into biodiesel and the effect of biodiesel on engine performance. It will also help determine usage application and specifications for the BioCube in Australia and around the globe.

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