Biofuel seed crop powered by Canadian agtech to be grown in Australia

12 Feb 2018

Agrisoma Biosciences (Agrisoma), a Canadian agtech company, has partnered with Qantas to invest in Australia’s first commercial aviation biofuel seed crop.[1]

The seed crop, Brassica Carinata (carinata), a non-food industrial type of mustard seed developed by Agrisoma, will be grown by Australian farmers and is a ‘big step in the development of a renewable jetfuel industry in Australia,’ according to Qantas International CEO Alison Webster.

‘It is a project we are really proud to be part of as we look at ways to reduce carbon emissions across our operations,’ says Webster.

The culmination of the Qantas–Agrisoma partnership celebration was the world’s first biofuel flight on 29 January between the United States and Australia. The 15-hour flight, which brought home attendees from G’Day USA events in Los Angeles to Melbourne, operated with approximately 24,000kg of blended biofuel, saving 18,000kg in carbon emissions.

Agrisoma CEO, Steve Fabijanski, says biofuel produced from carinata provides wide-ranging benefits.

‘Biojet fuel made from carinata delivers both oil for biofuel and protein for animal nutrition while also enhancing the soil it’s grown in,’ he says. ‘We are excited about the potential of the crop in Australia and look forward to working with local farmers and Qantas to develop a clean energy source for the local aviation industry.’

Nuseed, a wholly owned subsidiary of ASX-listed Nufarm Limited, is currently in discussion with Agrisoma to develop a distribution agreement for carinata seed.

Grayson Perry, Consul General and Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner in Toronto, says Australia’s world-class agricultural productions systems make it the ideal location to grow this new business line.

‘There is nothing like carinata currently grown in Australia,’ says Perry. ‘Agrisoma’s environmentally sustainable crop does not compete with food crops. The company is looking forward to creating a biojet supply chain in Australia to produce more than 200 million litres of biojet fuel by 2022.’

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[1]Qantas has no financial investment in Agrisoma – its investment is predominantly venture capital.