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.