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3 December 2023 3 min read

Key points

  • Australia’s hard-to-abate sectors produce 20 per cent of our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions every year.
  • Industries like steel, aviation and agriculture will take longer to decarbonise, and continue to emit, but they are important to Australia’s economy and our regions.
  • We’re working on low emissions steel, sustainable aviation fuel, and low emissions agriculture to enable Australia to thrive in a new low carbon world.

Getting to net zero is a huge and complex task. People often ask how the transition is going to impact our economy, and the jobs and communities that have helped build Australia as we know it. But there are also opportunities arising from decarbonisation.

Our Towards Net Zero Mission is working with industry, government and regions to help Australia's hardest-to-abate industries including steel, aviation, and agriculture; halve their emissions by 2035. These industries represent 20 per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions every year. They will take longer to decarbonise, and continue to emit, because of the way they must work. But they are important to Australia's economy and our regions.

We're working towards a low emission future where Australian science and technology create new low carbon industries and sustainable growth opportunities for our regions. Here are some of the tools and collaborations helping to decarbonise Australia's hardest-to-abate industries.

Low emissions steel and iron ore

Critical minerals and iron ore are central to building renewable energy infrastructure and reliable storage capacity to support decarbonisation. We work across the resources value chain to make processes more energy efficient and reduce emissions.

Our NextOre is being used to improve ore characterisation, which means processing uses less energy, less water and has less waste. We also created a technology for steel production that reduces the need for fossil fuels. This means we can use less coal in the steelmaking process.

Sustainable aviation fuel

Aviation currently contributes 2.5 per cent of global emissions, but this is expected to double by 2050.

Domestic demand for jet fuel is expected to expected to increase by 75 per cent by 2050. Using Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) can achieve between 60 and 100 per cent reduction in emissions compared to conventional jet fuels.

Australia is already producing oil rich crops and residues, which are being used in SAF overseas.

We've partnered with Boeing to understand how Australia can create its own SAF industry. Our Sustainable Aviation Fuels roadmap outlines how this new SAF export industry can be developed to reduce aviation emissions, provide fuel security, and support new income streams for Aussie farmers.

SAF is jet fuel made from renewable sources as opposed to conventional fossil jet fuels. This can include biomass, which is material that comes from agricultural crops and waste, animal fats and vegetable oils. ©  Stefan Fancik

Low emissions agriculture


With industry partners, we created a methane busting seaweed supplement for livestock. FutureFeed reduces the amount of methane released when livestock burp, reducing emissions from cattle by up to 80 percent.

This is important because methane is a greenhouse gas which is 84 times better at trapping heat than carbon dioxide (over a 20-year time frame).

Soil Carbon

Agriculture helps feed and clothe us but contributes about 13 per cent of Australian emissions. We're developing solutions like new cropping systems that store more carbon and require less fertiliser, reducing CO₂ emissions.


At the same time, FarmPrint is helping Australian farmers calculate their on-farm emissions. An important step in understanding where emissions can be reduced in their operations.


FutureFeed is made from a native Australian seaweed and only a small amount needs to be added to livestock feed to see methane reduction. ©  Mark Stebnicki

Regional communities

Our regional communities support these industries and the net zero pathways industries choose will impact our regional communities. To understand how we can transition in a way that is equitable and fair, we are bringing together communities, industry and experts to collaborate and share learnings.

All this work will help reduce emissions from our hardest-to-abate industries, but lowering our emissions won't get us all the way there. We need to look at all the tools we have, including removing emissions already in the atmosphere through permanent carbon dioxide removal.

As the world navigates to net zero, we will see major changes across our economy, industries, and communities. Our Towards Net Zero Mission is providing industries and regional communities with the tools to achieve net zero emissions and realise the opportunities of a low carbon economy.

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