An Australian company specialising in biofuels and yeast products says it is considering building a new processing plant in Queensland. Bio Processing Australia has begun preliminary planning and studies on the proposal, with construction possible next year.
The plant will produce yeast for livestock feed, and oilseeds will also be processed to make glycerine.
Chief executive officer John Lockhart said the company had considered locations across Australia and in south-east Asia, but Mackay was the optimal site.
“[It was chosen] mainly because of resources. They have renewable power and steam resources we can use, and also sugar, which yeast thrives on as a growth medium,” Mr Lockhart said.
“We will be making high protein yeast which is used as a natural growth stimulate for the feed industry.
“If the economics are favourable, we can process oilseed oils into biodiesel, which gives us our glycerine.”
Mr Lockhart said in the first year of production he expected the plant to make between 500 and 1,000 tonnes of yeast, which would require 2,000 tonnes of sugar, and an estimated 5,000 tonnes of oilseed.
Both the sugar and oilseeds would be supplied by local cane farmers.
The majority of the products will be exported to south-east Asia, a market worth around $2 million.
Hurdles to overcome
The company, which also has plants in New South Wales, will work with Mackay Sugar and the local council on the build.
Infrastructure, such as sheds, fermentation tanks, pipes and advanced technology, will be needed if the plans are approved and the project goes ahead.
As far as costs go, there are still some question marks.
The biggest question remains around exactly where the money will come from to fund the plant.
“We have a very broad idea at the moment [of the cost] but this is what the engineering reports will tell us,” Mr Lockhart said.
“Once we have got an idea from the engineers we can then move on to ‘well, this is how much we need, where do we get it?'”
He said the company was pursuing political avenues for funding.
“There are good incentives available. It is a case of whether your timing is right and whether you’re location is right, and of course there is always politics involved,” Mr Lockhart said.
Source – ABC