The State Government will fund feasibility studies for a $60m biorefinery that could create 130 jobs in the Far North
The proposed MSF Sugar biorefinery would produce 110,000 tonnes of raw sugar and 55 million litres of ethanol biofuel every year.
It would be based at Arriga, near Mareeba, where the sugar mill is and a Green Energy Power Plant is being built.
The factory would be powered by the onside bagasse-fuelled 24MW Green Power station.
It would create 80 construction and farming jobs and another 50 operational jobs.
It comes after US biotechnology firm Amyris expressed interest in building a biorefinery in Queensalnd sugar cane country.
Minister for State Development Dr Anthony Lynham said MSF Sugar will trial large-scale blue agave cropping as an alternative feedstock to sugarcane in the off-growing season.
This would allow the biorefinery to operate all 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.
“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.”
The project will be funded through the Government’s $4m 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.
More than 120 parties indicated interest in biorefining through the program and 26 submitted detailed expressions of interest.
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