Australian government announces support for biorefinery project

By Erin Voegele | July 14, 2017

The Australian government has announced support for a $60 million proposed biorefinery that is expected to produce electricity, raw sugar and ethanol from sugarcane. Blue agave may also be used as a feedstock.

Minister for State Development Anthony Lynham said the facility, under development by MSF Sugar, will be powered by an onsite bagasse-fueled 24 MW green power station. The proposed facility is expected to produce 110,000 metric tons of raw sugar and 55 million liters (14.53 million gallons) of ethanol each year. It will also send renewable electricity to the grid.

According to Lynham, the company plans to trial large-scale blue agave cropping as an alternative feedstock to sugarcane in the off-growing season. This could allow the facility to operate year-round.

Funding provided by the Australian government under the Biofutures Acceleration Program is expected to be used to complete feasibility studies and accelerate the beginning of construction on the plant. The project is expected to generate up to 80 construction jobs, along with 50 operational jobs.