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Transformational adaptation for the wheatbelt: energy tree cropping - Richard Bennett

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Transformational adaptation for the wheatbelt: energy tree cropping - Richard Bennett

  1. 1. Transformational adaptation for the wheatbelt: energy tree cropping Richard Bennett; Amir Abadi; Kevin Goss
  2. 2. Australian mallee system
  3. 3. Mallee system 1 - productionBelts ofcoppicing, droughttolerant trees• Integration with dominant grain, meat and wool enterprises• Coppicing trees allow regular and repeated harvests (3-5yrs)
  4. 4. Mallee system 2 – harvest/transp.Contractors harvest andtransport woodbiomass Photo of harvester • harvesting & chipping at >60 T/h prototype in • economic transport action distance ~50 km
  5. 5. Mallee system 3 - processing Biomass processing centres • renewable energy • fuel • char • oilEnergy source that is:• C neutral to C positive• Base-load – complements wind and solar
  6. 6. The path to an industryA viable industry before 2025 Generating 176MW Offsetting 9.1 Mt CO2-e
  7. 7. The path to an industry
  8. 8. The path to an industry -- cost of supply --
  9. 9. The path to an industry -- cost of supply --
  10. 10. The path to an industry -- cost of supply --
  11. 11. The path to an industry -- cost of supply --
  12. 12. The path to an industry -- cost of supply --
  13. 13. The path to an industry -- cost of supply --
  14. 14. The path to an industry -- cost of supply --
  15. 15. The path to an industry -- scale of demand --
  16. 16. The path to an industry -- scale of demand --
  17. 17. The path to an industry -- scale of demand --
  18. 18. Challenges to industry development Cost of harvest and haulage largest hurdle –Prototype harvesters under development – Initial cost biomass cost offsets? Ongoing sustainability considerations – early reliance on stored soil moisture / nutrients – productivity decline long-term – Net C balance of roots
  19. 19. Transforming agriculture Environmental benefits to farms and regions• Provide salinity and biodiversity benefits• Smart belt placement can improve water and nutrient balances• Neutral or positive carbon balance• Viable industry will displace fossil fuels emissions to 1.3 MT CO2-e / year
  20. 20. Transforming agriculture Economic benefits to farmers• Improved animal welfare – shelter from elements• Diversify farm incomes – complement existing agriculture• Maintains cash flow – regular harvests• Stability of yield – lower year on year risk• Higher total productivity – use of excess resources
  21. 21. Transforming agriculture Economic benefits to regions• New regional industries – harvesting, transporting and processing• Provide local base-load power to regional areas reducing transmission losses• Improved energy security• Mallees for bioenergy will be strategically important for Australias renewable energy future
  22. 22. Key references• Future Farm Industries CRC (2010) Energy Tree Crops: Renewable energy from biomass could be the driver to large scale adoption of woody crops and to structural improvement to dryland agricultural systems in Australia• Bartle, J. Abadi, A. (2010) Toward Sustainable Production of Second Generation Bioenergy Feedstocks. Energy Fuels 24, 2–9.

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