The University of Queensland (UQ) has embarked on an international partnership with the Japanese Government to enhance research and innovation efforts in the sustainable production of biofuels.
UQ has formalized an agreement with the Moonshot Research and Development Program. This Japanese Government initiative unites leading experts worldwide to address complex global challenges, including sustainable food production and consumption.
The University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor, Professor Deborah Terry, expressed her enthusiasm for the partnership, which will facilitate knowledge exchange, promote joint research projects, and support technological developments. “Collaborating with the Moonshot program enables us to leverage our strengths towards realizing a cleaner and smarter global food supply,” she noted.
Professor Terry emphasized the urgent need for groundbreaking innovation to secure sustainable sources of food and energy for the global community, given the limitations of the world’s agricultural farmland.
The partnership’s initial focus will be developing a commercial supply of biofuels from the pongamia plant, an oil-rich legume grown in northern Australia.
Professor Damian Hine from UQ’s Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation considers this initiative the dawn of a new industry. “Japan has set ambitious decarbonization targets for its aviation sector, including 10% sustainable fuel by 2030. UQ is proud to contribute to achieving this goal,” said Professor Hine.
He outlined the research strategy in which Pongamia includes exploring the stable supply of sustainable aviation fuel from pongamia and other crops through various means, such as genetics, speed breeding, propagation, protected cropping, digital agriculture, and sustainable yet efficient farming systems.
Professor Hine noted, “Queensland is well-positioned to support the value chain for future biofuel production and the development of large industrial-scale projects that contribute to global decarbonization efforts.”
Professor Kazuhiro Chiba, President of the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology and Moonshot Goal 5 leader, affirmed the collaboration with UQ would aid in mitigating pressures on sustainable food supply.
“The world is facing a challenge to meet a global demand for food estimated to increase by 70% in less than 30 years,” Professor Chiba said. “We must think outside the box and establish environmentally friendly food production systems that support our communities.”
The partnership promises a more sustainable future through its commitment to fostering innovation and driving research in the biofuels sector.
Image from University of Queensland