Multiple multi-million dollar high-tech biorefineries and high-skilled jobs are on the cards for regional Queensland, a global biotech event has been told.
Speaking from Montreal where he is attending the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology, State Development Minister said that American company Mercurius Biorefining and Brisbane’s Leaf Resources would progress their respective plans to use plant waste to produce fuels, chemicals and plastics.
The State Government has provided financial incentives to both companies from its $20 million biofutures action plan.
“These projects will mean at least 50 jobs and alternative markets for farmers in regional Queensland,” Dr Lynham said.
“These two companies are the latest to join a multi-million dollar pipeline of investment in 21st century biofutures plants that could generate more than 330 jobs in regional Queensland.”
Dr Lynham met Mercurius and Leaf representatives this morning is in Montreal, where he is meeting bio companies and promoting Queensland as a biofutures investment centre.
This follows Premier Annastascia Palaszczuk’s trade mission to the United States last month, where she led a delegation of close to 100 industry and research leaders to the world’s largest biotechnology event – the Biotechnology International Convention in the United States: BIO 2017.
ASX-listed Leaf Resources will scope out a potential location for a biorefinery site near a source of plant waste, ranging from sugar cane fibre, sorghum stalks or hardwood offcuts.
The Premier said Leaf, headquartered in Darra, proposed a biorefinery using their patented technology to speed up and reduce the cost of converting plant waste into sustainable chemicals, biofuels and bioplastics, replacing products currently derived from petroleum.
“This is world-leading technology which has the potential to contribute to creation of future high-skilled jobs and investment opportunities in regional Queensland,” she said.
“The Queensland Government is leading Australia’s biofutures revolution through the Advance Queensland Biofutures 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan.
“These biorefinery proposals are another step towards achieving Queensland’s vision for a $1 billion sustainable, export-oriented biotechnology and bioproducts sector.”
Mercurius proposes to build a pilot plant, located in either with elements located in Mackay and Gladstone.
They will trial converting materials such as excess sugar cane fibre into renewable diesel and bio-chemicals.
Based on performance of the pilot and demonstration projects, the company then plans to build advanced biorefinery projects across other regional Queensland areas.
“The $11 million Mercurius project, estimated to create 50 jobs, is an exciting one for Queensland and has the potential to deliver long-term high-value jobs and investment opportunities for many regions,” Dr Lynham said.
Dr Lynham said Mercurius also planned to manufacture sustainable jet fuel, with the US Navy identified as a potential customer.