Australia explores an Agriculture-based renewable fuel project

It is no secret that countries globally are transitioning to clean energy, evident in the many projects that come up in renewables. Many people may believe renewable energy is sourced from sun, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric power since they are the things we often hear experts discuss. But is that really what renewable energy entails? There is more to renewable energy since it is energy sourced out from naturally availably resources. And Australia is exploring something new, turning agricultural crop waste materials into renewable energy. It is a $2 billion project set to kick off in Northern Victoria using maize fields.

This proposal may surprise many who are yet to learn the facts on the renewable energy sector. Experts are aware that you can turn any natural resources to produce renewable energy using the necessary technologies. This project is a milestone for Victoria as it works on the set target of decarbonizing the region. It is a partnership between a top renewable energy firm, AgBioEn, the La Trobe University, and LAB3, a technology-based company. The development team aims to ensure maize fields produce grains for food sustainability and convert their stalks and crop waste materials to renewable energy in Katunga, a new facility located near Shepparton.

This project has been running for a while, with the first maize field trial dating back to December with experts using organic fertilizers to boost the yield and soil quality in the field. It was a well-monitored project with the development team utilizing IoT-enabled soil probes, drones, time-lapse cameras, and weather stations to monitor the crops’ growth. Lubey Lozevski, an executive director in AgBioEn, commented on the project, stating that the early indicators show their maximum potential.

He explained that the organic fertilizers had done their job improving the soil, reducing water usage, and high carbon capture in the soil, a target the developing team was aiming at during the project’s first phases. With good soil, the quantity and quality of the crop waste are high, which is critical for the project’s next phase. AgBioEn plans to buy, share, or lease farms that will form a supply chain for food crops, resulting in sustainable food in the country and renewable energy availability.

The vice-chancellor of la Trobe University, Prof. Ashley Franks, expressed his excitement as the project is following the right track. The university will use its expertise in Agriculture to contribute to this project. Alain Blanchette, LAB3 Data and AI director, explained that this project demonstrates how there is technological maturity in the agricultural sector. The three teams involved will work together and ensure the availability of adequate renewable energy in Australia.

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