Science and Engineering


18 October 2017

The man who helped power US Navy ships with alternative fuels made from beef fat is touring Queensland this week along with QUT experts to help push the state’s burgeoning biofuels industry.

QUT Adjunct Professor Chris Tindal is a former Director for Operational Energy with the US Navy and was part of the US Navy’s ‘Great Green Fleet’ initiative which last year sent a strike carrier group to sea on alternative fuels.

He is working with QUT’s Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities (CTCB) and the university’s Institute for Future Environments and half-way through a two-week Queensland visit.

Yesterday (Tuesday) he met with local industry and government officials in Gladstone, today (Wednesday) he is in Mackay and tomorrow (Thursday) he will visit Townsville.

Professor Chris Tindal with
Professor Ian O'Hara


He is being joined by leading QUT biofuels researcher Professor Ian O’Hara (Queensland’s inaugural Biofutures Industry Envoy) and together they are encouraging Queensland to make the most of its biofuels potential.

On Friday, they will also speak at the Australasian Bioenergy and Bioproducts Symposium, along with fellow QUT expert and CTCB Director Professor Sagadevan Mundree.

Professor Tindal’s visit has coincided with two major Australian airlines announcing plans to move into biofuels to help reduce carbon emissions and become more fuel efficient.

“I’m mainly trying to get the message across that there is a demand signal for bioproducts and that there is great potential for Queensland to do some really good business with biofuels,” he said.

“We’ve done the research, we have the raw products, now we need to keep building the facilities and the funding because the demand is growing.

“Brisbane Airport wants to do bio jet fuels and Qantas and Virgin have said they want to start using advanced biofuels too.”

Virgin this month announced it was working with the Queensland government on a two-year trial to supply biofuels to the mainstream fuel infrastructure at Brisbane Airport.

Qantas has also announced it plans to power its Los Angeles-based aircraft with biofuel from 2020, which will involve buying 36 million litres of renewable jet fuel each year from a Philadelphia-based biofuel company.

Other international airlines including Cathay Pacific, United, Southwest, jetBlue and Lufthansa have also signed deals to purchase alternative jet fuels.

Professor Tindal said there could also be opportunities to sell biofuels to the US Navy, including when its ships were doing exercises off the Queensland coast and needed refueling.

He said the green fuel project was still going strong in the US, with the US Navy signing another annual contract in August for 60 million gallons of biofuel with a 30 per cent blend of renewable diesel made from beef tallow.

QUT’s biofuels and bioproducts research investigates turning farming and livestock industry wastes into products including fuel, animal feeds, fertilisers and specialty plastics.

Today (Wednesday) Professor Tindal will visit QUT’s Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant – a biorefinery pilot plant located on the site of the Mackay sugar factory.

He also gave a public lecture at QUT last week and was involved in a War on Waste forum at QUT yesterday.

“It’s been wonderful working with the people within the Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities – they’ve been overwhelmingly generous and hospitable,” he said.

Release date: Wednesday, October 18, 2017

** Professor Tindal will be in Queensland until Friday evening.  He is available for interview.  Please contact QUT media team leader Rose Trapnell on 0407 585 901. 

Media contacts:
- Mechelle McMahon, QUT media officer,
- Rose Trapnell, QUT media team leader, 0407 585 901

The US Navy's 'Great Green Fleet'


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