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Australia turns to pork in new bioenergy venture

A new program launched by the Australian Pork Cooperative Research Centre is to focus on maximising the value of captured emissions from the pork industry.

The capture, production and use of methane from piggery effluent treated in covered anaerobic lagoons will be the main priority for the Pork CRC Bioenergy Support Program. Research will also be conducted into making the gas collection and use there of economically viable.

According to the producer-owned and promotion organisation Australian Pork, more than 90% of the country’s pork production already uses ponds to manage effluent and interest in bioenergy is rising on home soil due to rising energy costs, lower cost technologies and the introduction of the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) and carbon tax.

Passed by parliament in 2011, the CFI earns carbon credits for farmers and land owners who store carbon or reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The carbon tax, which starts on 1 July, will require payment per metric tonne of carbon released by polluters until 2015.