QUEENSLAND’S EMERGING bio-futures industry has been given a boost following the announcement that North Queensland-based MP Australia Holdings has received $250,000 in State Government Funding to demonstrate bioethanol production from agave at the pilot scale.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said MP Holdings, trading as MSF Sugar, was one of six projects that would help put Queensland at the forefront of the global bioindustrial revolution.
Ms Palaszczuk, who this week attended the international BIO 2017 conference in San Diego, said the project sought to establish the feasibility of an integrated sugarcane and agave bioindustrial project at the Tableland Sugar Mill using agave already being grown at Arriga in Far North Queensland.
The project would also seek to compare growth rates of agave grown in Maryborough and Arriga with Mexico.
“Importantly, this will use marginal cane land and aim to give sugarcane factories the opportunity to have year-round production, producing bioethanol in the sugarcane off-season,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“This means seasonal jobs could now become year-long jobs.”
Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said the project was funded out of the Advance Queensland $5 million Biofutures Commercialisation Program.
Ms Enoch said the BCP, part of the Advance Queensland Biofutures Roadmap, set out to increase the capability and scale of the biofutures industry in Queensland.
“The aim of this particular project is to demonstrate bioethanol production from agave at pilot scale and establish the feasibility of an integrated sugarcane and agave bioindustrial project at the Tableland Sugar Mill,” she said.
“The project will look at field-scale agave cultivation on non-irrigated lands in the Atherton Tablelands.”
The Advance Queensland Biofutures Commercialisation Program aims to attract national or international bioindustrial expertise to partner with Queensland researchers and/or businesses to scale-up and test new or improved bioindustrial technologies and processes at the pilot or demonstration scale in Queensland.