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$60M FNQ biorefinery to create 130 jobs

The Palaszczuk Government is throwing its support behind a new $60 million Atherton Tableland biorefinery that could generate 130 regional jobs and encourage diverse cropping in the region.

Minister for State Development Dr Anthony Lynham said the MSF Sugar biorefinery was part of a multi-million dollar investment in 21st century biofutures plants that could generate more than 330 jobs in regional 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 Lynham 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.

“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.”

Dr Lynham said Palaszczuk Government was providing funding that would primarily be used by the company to progress feasibility studies, 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.”

Dr Lynham said Atherton’s MSF Sugar biorefinery was another step towards achieving Queensland’s vision for a $1 billion sustainable, export-oriented biotechnology and bioproducts sector.

“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,” he said.

“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.

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

Other biorefinery projects coming to regional Queensland from the Biofutures Acceleration Program are:

  • a biorefinery in another Queensland sugarcane region by US biotechnology company Amyris, which would create 70 operational jobs. The company aims to produce 23,000 tonnes a year of a sugar cane-based ingredient called farnesene used in products including cosmetic emollients, fragrances, fuels, solvents, lubricants and nutraceuticals.
  • a planned $26 million expansion of United Ethanol’s Dalby Biorefinery facility by 24ML to 100ML, creating 50 jobs. The company also plans to conduct detailed scientific studies to improve the marketability of its high-value and high-protein animal feed product called ‘dry distillers grain’ later this year.

For more information on the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland Biofutures 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan, visit: https://www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/industry-development/biofutures.html

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