Queensland government throws support behind $60 million biorefinery

A new biorefinery project has been proposed in the Atherton Tablelands of Queensland, Australia. According to a statement, the regional government is “throwing its support” behind the new multi-million dollar project.

The $60 million Atherton Tableland biorefinery could generate 130 regional jobs and also encourage diverse cropping in the region. The proposed MSF Sugar biorefinery is part of a multimillion dollar investment project in Queensland into 21st century biofutures plants that combined could generate 330 jobs in Queensland.

“The proposed MSF Sugar biorefinery is expected to generate 80 construction and farming jobs and an additional 50 operational jobs, delivering a further boost to the region’s economy,” Dr Anthony Lynham, minister for State Development, said.

“Powered by an onsite bagasse-fuelled 24 MW Green Power station, the combined biorefinery complex is expected to produce 110,000 tonnes of raw sugar, 200,000 MW of green electricity for the grid and 55 million litres of ethanol biofuel annually.

Lynham continued: “The company will trial large-scale blue agave cropping as an alternative feedstock to sugarcane in the off-growing season, potentially allowing the biorefinery to operate 12 months of the year.

“Blue agave grows well in dry land conditions with minimum irrigation required, so this is good news for local growers in terms of future income growth and diversification potential.”

The Queensland government of Annastacia Palaszczuk aims to develop a $1 billion sustainable, export-orientated biotechnology and bioproducts sector. The government will provide funding to MSF Sugar to use in feasibility studies, and to accelerate construction commencement of the proposed biorefinery.

“This support builds on additional funding from the Biofutures Commercialisation Program announced last month, which will assist MSF Sugar to demonstrate agave as a suitable feedstock to make ethanol,” Lynham said.

“Acceleration of the Atherton project came out of the Palaszczuk Government’s $4 million 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,” Lynham explained.

“More than 120 parties indicated interest in biorefining in Queensland through the program and 26 submitted detailed expressions of interest.

“The Palaszczuk 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.

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