Global biogas experts are gathering in Toowoomba on Queensland's Darling Downs on November 17-18 to share their insights, experiences, and global best practice in this space.
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Australia will be hosting the second meeting this year of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Task 37, which is an international working group made up of 14 member countries that covers anaerobic digestion of various biomass feedstocks. 

The group meeting will provide the opportunity for task member countries to exchange global best practice trends, which will help to enable Australian biogas facilities to renew strategies and tools for operating efficient and lean processes. 

The group will also seek to promote the deployment of anaerobic digestion technology for renewable energy production and environmental protection, and the provision of expert scientific and technical support to policy makers in member countries.

The Task 37 meeting was set up by University of Southern Queensland's (USQ) associate professor Bernadette McCabe - national task leader for the IEA Task 37, and University College Cork professor Jerry Murphy, who is the Task 37 group leader.

Murphy is honoured and delighted to hold the meeting in Toowoomba, especially considering Australia is only a new member of Task 37, having formally commenced participation only last year.

"Biogas technologies have evolved greatly over recent decades - expanding from waste treatment processes to facilitating technologies for smart energy systems," Murphy said.

"There are now numerous biogas systems now available to the biogas developer internationally, but challenges remain, and the economics of biogas production must improve.

"Research and development is central to maximise methane concentration in biogas, which can be achieved through pre-treatment and co-digestion."

McCabe adds to this by stating that knowledge sharing between industry, the government and research institutions is key.

"Creating energy from waste using biogas technology is a great idea - it's a twi way win," McCabe said.

"There's been a lot of interest in Australia over the last decade, driven by increasing costs in electricity, fertiliser and waste disposal costs."

In November last year the CEFC announced a $100 million commitment to the Australian Bioenergy Fund, which aims to provide equity and debt finance for bioenergy projects.

At a state level, the Queensland government released the Advance Queensland Biofutures 10-year Road Map and Action Plan back in June of last year.

The Queensland government is currently working in partnership with the state's agriculture and waste industries, as well as the research sector, to help grow the state's emerging industrial biotechnology and by-products sector.

"It is fitting to have the Bioenergy Australia conference and the Task 37 meeting in Queensland, given the increasing interest in investment in this area," McCabe said. 

"Australia's membership in Task 37 is a very significant step forward in further developing the biogas market on a national scale."

The Task 37 group are also planning to visit and inspect the innovative and new Australian biogas facility at Oakey Beef Exports.

The biogas plant burns methane generated by the abattoir's wastewater to supplement gas used to power its boilers.

"Beef production is such an important industry to Queensland, and what Oakey Beef Exports is doing with biogas has generated a lot of interest from other processors and other states," McCabe said. 

"I'm delighted to have the opportunity to host IEA Task 37 members and show some international leaders in the biogas field how renewables are working here in regional Australia."

Bioenergy Australia will also be holding the country's leading Bioenergy conference in Brisbane earlier in the same week, and will include a dedicated stream of presentations provided by a number of the Task 37 delegates.