Good use of cane waste
THE Queensland Government is funding next-generation research to turn sugarcane waste into liquid fuels and chemicals – transforming Queensland’s agricultural industry.
Speaking from QUT’s Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant, Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said Advance Queensland Research Fellow Dr Kameron Dunn will receive $180,000 over three years.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to building a biocommodities industry in Queensland,” Ms Enoch said.
“Our vision is for a $1 billion sustainable and export-orientated industrial biotechnology and bioproducts sector – one that attracts significant international investment, and creates regional, high-value and knowledge-intensive jobs.
Ms Enoch said the bio-refining sector is emerging worldwide as a major industry.
“Queensland has the potential to become a leading global producer of bioproducts and technowaste-oil logies, creating new markets for both technology developers and agricultural producers, as well as providing significant regional development prospects for the state,” she said.
The Government funding to Dr Dunn will be matched by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and industry partners including NilWaste Energy, Queensland Urban Utilities and Southern Oil, which recently launched the $16 million Northern Oil Advanced Biofuels Pilot Plant in Gladstone. The project partners operate in biomass, solid waste, sewage treatment and refining industries.
Dr Dunn, from QUT’s Centre of Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, said his research will increase the competitiveness of Queensland’s agricultural industries by moving into the production of biofuels and biochemicals.
“Our sugarcane industry needs to diversify and tap into other non-sugar markets to make the industry resilient against increased competition and fluctuating world sugar prices,” Dr Dunn said.
“Bio-refineries are expected to generate significant amounts of waste.
“If we can add value to these waste products, then we can open up a whole new stream of revenue for these industries.”
QUT’s Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant supports Dr Dunn’s research project through the pre-treatment of bagasse by producing sugarcane lignin.
This lignin is then processed at a QUT pilot plant facility in Brisbane.
Queensland can become a leading global producer of bioproducts and technologies, creating new markets for and agricultural producers
Minister Leeanne Enoch
Government and scientists are exploring ways to diversify the cane industry