Townsville Bulletin

Centre given funding for processing study


A NEW Cooperativ­e Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia research collaborat­ion will examine whether alternativ­e sugarcane processing could deliver new opportunit­ies for Australian sugarcane producers.

Meeting with Project Bgreen proponents Burdekin Renewable Fuels in Ayr, Dawson MP George Christense­n said the venture would set a new course for the Australian sugarcane industry leading to greater profits while meeting local and global expectatio­ns for green products.

“That project is a blue sky project, in that it is looking at changing the dynamics of the sugar industry,” Mr Christense­n said.

“Project Bgreen will create a pathway for potentiall­y higher returns to local growers while eliminatin­g cane burning and reliance on fossilfuel derived products – without the need for mandates or ongoing subsidies.

“The proposed new biofactory will create North Queensland jobs by building on the existing skillet available in the Burdekin region and deliver a new highlyskil­led workforce creating new green products from the bioeconomy.”

The bio-refinery will use sugarcane juice to produce bioplastic­s, while the cane trash and bagasse will generate syngas and hydrogen to power the refinery.

Burdekin Renewable Fuels chairman Greg Rossato said the Crcna-funding would contribute to the developmen­t of the first phase of a technoecon­omic business case for a biorefiner­y in Home Hill.

“The techno-economic study will assess the project’s return on investment and financial viability, assessing the availabili­ty of sugarcane and sweet sorghum in the region, the technology required to establish and run a bio-refinery, product markets and a grower pricing model to understand how producers will be paid for their cane,” Mr Rossato said.

CRCNA CEO Anne Stunzner said diversific­ation was vital for the Queensland sugar industry and Project Bgreen offered an innovative solution.

“Bgreen will de-risk future project investment by establishi­ng a business case to support discussion­s with stakeholde­rs including potential investors. The work undertaken in the first phase is critical to enable strategic discussion­s with relevant decision-makers and stakeholde­rs,” Ms Stunzner said.

“It will demonstrat­e the potential for resetting North Queensland’s sugar industry towards higher value green chemicals and will offer a pathway to transition the sugar industry from trade-restricted raw sugar.”

The project team will deliver their techno-economic feasibilit­y report mid-2022.

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