09 October 2012
RMIT University has signed a multi-million dollar
partnership with World Wide Carbon Credits Australia to
develop an algae-based biofuel at a commercial scale.
As part of a major biofuel project directed by RMIT's
Professor Andy Ball, the University is partnering with WWCC
in a venture capital project focused on the commercial
scaleablility of the promising biofuel alternative.
Professor Ball, Professor in Environmental Microbiology in
the School of Applied Sciences, said traditional approaches
to producing biofuels using agricultural products posed
controversial problems around using food for fuel, as well
as the potential impact on food prices and poverty in the
"Algae are an ideal alternative for biofuel because
they are able to convert carbon dioxide to organic carbon
and are potentially more productive than any other
photosynthetic organism," he said.
"The technology to grow algae on a large scale has
existed for decades but due to technical and economical
challenges, there are no large-scale facilities for
producing algae for use in biofuels.
"Through this project and our collaboration with WWCC,
we hope to develop processes using biotechnology techniques
that will make large-scale production and harvesting of
algae for biofuels commercially viable."
Toby Jones, spokesperson for WWCC, said the partnership was
a fantastic example of collaboration between business and
"We are very excited about the potential of the
research being undertaken to produce renewable,
high-quality, long chain hydrocarbons, which will initially
have high-value applications in the chemical,
pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries," Mr Jones
"As we scale commercially, this process offers a
viable alternative as a transitional biofuel and we look
forward to working with RMIT to bring this inspiring
development to market.
"This research could provide a key example of how
Australia could be much more self-sustaining with its fuel
"It is also hoped that the collaboration between RMIT
and WWCC will lead to longer-term solutions that can create
a fuel security for Australia."
For interviews: Professor Andy Ball, 0431 500 865.
For media enquiries: Gosia Kaszubska, (03) 9925 3176 or
0417 510 735.