A NEW $18 million biorefinery project in Bundaberg will create more than 30 local jobs across the region.
Speaking at the Bundaberg Rum Distillery today, Premier Annastascia Palaszczuk said Queensland-based biohub developer Utilitas was looking at converting waste from the distillery into green electricity, for return to the distillery, and biocrude.
"The Palaszczuk Government is supporting this project for the jobs and business opportunities it will generate locally, and the contribution it makes towards achieving our vision for a $1 billion sustainable, export-oriented biotechnology and bio-products sector," he said.
"This project will seek to re-purpose the soon-to-be-retired Bundaberg East Wastewater Treatment Plant, with the aim of forming a world-leading biotechnology and education hub for the future."
Utilitas CEO Fiona Waterhouse said the funding would bring forward early works required to produce higher value bioproducts, including bioplastics, at the company's proposed Bundaberg bioHub.
"We expect the project to provide a globally significant demonstration of how bioHubs can fuel industry, support networks and energise communities. We are grateful for the Biofutures Acceleration Program funding support," she said.
MAYOR DELIGHTED WITH PREMIER'S ANNOUNCEMENT
MAYOR Jack Dempsey has welcomed the announcement that the State Government will accelerate funding investment in a biorefinery project proposed for the Bundaberg region.
"Brisbane based Utilitas Group Pty Ltd is a bioHub developer with a mission to deliver 100MW of dispatchable, reliable local electricity and other bioproducts from 100 bioHubs in 100 regional communities by 2025," Cr Dempsey said.
"Utilitas investigates, designs, builds and operates bioHubs that convert, manure, sewage, crop residuals and food processing waste into renewable energy and tradeable bioproducts."
Cr Dempsey said Utilitas engages with large organic waste producers and energy consumers to treat their waste and supply energy (electricity, gas, fuel) at commercially negotiated rates.
"The high volume of organic waste across the Bundaberg Region is a crucial component for the establishment of a future focused biohub or biorefinery for the Bundaberg Region," Cr Dempsey said.
"We have all seen the large spoil left in fields around the Bundaberg Region after the prime crop has been harvested. This represents one avenue of potential product supply for a biorefinery into the future.
UTILITAS EXCITED TO MOVE TO BUNDY
UTILITAS will move to the Bundaberg East Sewerage Treatment Plant site and convert waste from the nearby Bundaberg Rum Distillery into green electricity for return to the distillery, and biocrude.
The project is expected to create about 30 jobs.
The proposal was given a leg up yesterday through the State Government's $4 million Biofutures Acceleration Program, although it remains unclear just how much cash the government stumped up as the deal remains "commercial in confidence", according to State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham.
Utilitas plans to process feedstock such as organic trade and agricultural waste.
This includes potentially using waste from the distillery and other local industries in return for generating green electricity and biocrude.
Utilitas investigates, designs, builds and operates bioHubs that convert manure, sewage, crop residuals and food processing waste into renewable energy and tradeable bioproducts
Utilitas CEO Fiona Waterhouse said the first step was to move its laboratories from Brisbane to the plant site.
Last year, Utilitas applied for an expression of interest to acquire the site when the new Rubyanna Sewerage Treatment Plant is operational next year.
"With this funding, we are able to add the next layer of biorefining capability to our laboratory," she said.
"We can work with the distillery to do real-time testing.
"Part of this funding is to help us get to a project definition statement, which is what we need to be able to provide to our financiers to raise the capital for the actual construction."
The project will encompass three phases and cost an estimated $18 million, with the first phase costing about $10 million.