The Queensland government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Qantas to develop a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry in the state.
Under the deal, Qantas will work with the Palaszczuk government on a Queensland-based SAF supply chain, as well as look at how to make best use of sugarcane and agricultural byproducts to produce fuel and how to develop new feedstocks and processes.
The Queensland government estimates that an Australian SAF industry could be worth at least $3 billion by 2050. Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the agreement is a step towards the state becoming a “clean energy superpower”, particularly with Queensland’s large production of feedstock such as tallow, sugarcane waste pulp, cereal cropping residues and pongamia.
“With our rich supply of feedstock and skilled workforce, Qantas, and the world, has recognised Queensland as an ideal location to establish an Australasian SAF supply chain,” he said.
“Partnerships like this one with Qantas position Queensland as a SAF hub, along with the right mix of investment, government support and policy, and industry collaboration.
“Importantly, growing industries that will be in demand in a decarbonising world will create more good jobs for Queenslanders and new export opportunities.”
According to Qantas Group chief sustainability officer Andrew Parker, having a “clear plan to decarbonise air travel” is key to making sure large states like Queensland stay connected into the future.
“Sustainable fuels are the most significant tool airlines currently have to reduce their emissions, particularly given they can be used in today’s engines and fuel delivery infrastructure with no modifications,” he said.
“Qantas will be the largest single customer for Australian-made SAF, so it’s fantastic that the Queensland Government is seeking to partner with us so we can work together on establishing the industry from the ground up.
“The Queensland Government is already showing real leadership in helping accelerate the development of a local SAF industry, which is giving the State a head start over other parts of the country.”
Qantas in March announced a partnership with Airbus to build a SAF industry in Queensland. The Qantas Group and Airbus will jointly tip in $2 million of an initial $6 million capital raising, with the Queensland government contributing $760,000.
Qantas previously said it hoped to see 60 per cent of all its fuel be derived from SAF by 2050, with an interim goal of 10 per cent by 2030. The airline hopes to be a net zero operation by 2050.