Report discusses future growth of Australian ethanol industry

By Erin Voegele | August 22, 2017

A report filed with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network predicts Australian biofuel production will reach 290 million liters (79.61 million gallons) this year, including 250 million liters of ethanol. That production level is expected to be unchanged in 2018.

The report explains that Australia’s biofuel industry has significantly contracted in recent years due to lower oil prices, high feedstock prices and a changing policy framework.

Biofuel production in Australia peaked in 2014, when it reached 400 million liters. During the same year, biofuel consumption approached 800,000 million liters. Ethanol production in 2014 was 260 million gallons, with consumption reaching 261 million liters and imports reaching 6 million liters.

According to the report, ethanol production levels are relatively stable and supported by a 6 percent mandate in New South Wales. In addition, a 3 percent mandate in Queensland took force this year.

Australia’s largest ethanol producer manufactures ethanol from waste wheat and supplies the NSW market. Two smaller plants in Queensland manufacture ethanol from sorghum and sugar feedstocks. Together, the three facilities have the capacity to produce approximately 440 million liters annually. The facility that refines sorghum recently announced plans to boost production capacity by 24 MMly.

The report also lists several proposed ethanol plants, including 90 MMly facility in North Queensland that would produce ethanol from sugar, a 115 MMly facility in NSW that would process wheat, a 350 MMly plant that would take in sugar cane and sorghum as feedstock, and a 100 MMly sugarcane ethanol plant in Queensland.