A new Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) research collaboration will examine whether alternative sugarcane processing could deliver new opportunities for Australian sugarcane producers.

Meeting with Project BGreen proponents Burdekin Renewable Fuels in Ayr, Dawson MP George Christensen said the R & D venture will set a new course for the Australian sugarcane industry leading to greater profits for growers while meeting local and global expectations for green products.

“Project BGreen will create a pathway for potentially higher returns to local growers while eliminating cane burning and reliance on fossil-fuel derived products – without the need for mandates or ongoing subsidies.

“This project will further solidify the Burdekin as the sugarcane capital of Australia.

“The proposed new bio-factory will create north Queensland jobs by building on the existing skillset available in the Burdekin region and deliver a new highly-skilled workforce creating new green products from the bio-economy,” Mr Christensen said.

The bio-refinery will use sugarcane juice to produce bio-plastics, while the cane trash and bagasse will generate syngas and hydrogen to power the refinery.

Burdekin Renewable Fuels Chair, Greg Rossato, said the CRCNA-funding will contribute towards the development of the first phase of a techno-economic business case for a biorefinery to be built in Home Hill.

“The techno-economic study will assess the project’s return on investment and financial viability, assessing the availability of sugarcane and sweet sorghum in the region, the technology required to establish and run a bio-refinery, product markets and a grower pricing model to understand how producers will be paid for their cane.”

CRCNA CEO Anne Stünzner said diversification is vital for the Queensland sugar industry and Project BGreen offered an innovative solution which, if successful, could be developed in other sugarcane producing areas.

“BGreen will de-risk future project investment by establishing a business case to support discussions with stakeholders including potential investors.  The work undertaken in the first phase is critical to enable strategic discussions with relevant decision-makers and stakeholders.

“It will demonstrate the potential for resetting north Queensland’s sugar industry towards higher value green chemicals and will offer a pathway to transition the sugar industry from trade-restricted raw sugar,” she said.

The project team are due to deliver their final techno-economic feasibility report mid-2022.

Media enquiries

Carla Keith, CRCNA 0499 330 051

Greg Rossato, Burdekin Renewable Fuels

James Moyes, George Christensen 0407 776 556