New biorefinery planned for Queensland, Australia

The government of Queensland, Australia has announced plans for a new biorefinery in the state. The new facility, which will be built and operated by US company Amyris, suggests the drive to attract biorefinery investors to Queensland is starting to pay off.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, speaking in San Diego at the BIO2017 International Convention, said the planned biorefinery could create upwards of 70 jobs and boost Queensland’s reputation internationally as a leading biofutures location.

“Amyris is seeking to replicate its successful biorefinery in Brazil and sees Queensland as an ideal location due to the abundance of sugarcane and close proximity to Asia,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“The company’s proposed biorefinery would aim to produce 23,000 tonnes a year of a sugar cane-based ingredient called farnesene which is used in a range products including cosmetics, fragrances, nutraceuticals, polymers, and lubricants.”

Amyris president & CEO John Melo highlighted the benefits of setting up a biorefinery in Queensland.

“Our growing demand in China for Vitamins and the Asian demand for cosmetics and fragrances supports a new specialty farnesene fermentation factory in Queensland,” Mr Melo said.

“The funding from the Queensland Government along with the operating expertise and sugar cane base of our local partner makes this factory possible and enable savings from our current production in Brazil and the associated shipping costs.

“Like all our new projects, this factory is expected to be sold out when it starts operating with agreements to supply our current partners in China and other Asian markets. 

“Queensland offers an excellent location option for Amyris with its favorable business climate, extensive sugar industry and geographic proximity to these markets.”

Bioenergy and biofuels are seen as a big part of Queensland’s future. Palaszczuk said the new plant would be another step in the state’s vision for a $1 billion sustainable, export-oriented biotechnology and bioproducts sector.

“Acceleration of the Amyris project came out of the Queensland Government’s Biofutures Acceleration Program that offers support to companies to build commercial-scale biorefineries in regional Queensland to process materials such as agricultural and industrial waste,” she said.

“A total of 120 parties recently indicated interest in biorefining in Queensland through the program and 26 submitted detailed expressions of interest.

“The Queensland Government’s funding and support for biorefinery projects will create high-value jobs and investment in regional Queensland by using renewable feedstocks to create biofuel and other bioproducts.

“The Queensland Government is leading Australia’s bio-economic revolution through the Advance Queensland Biofutures 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan.”

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