03 October 2015

TECHNOLOGY that should dramatically advance the global biofuels industry will be tested at Mackay’s Racecourse Mill.

The announcement came from Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, as she witnessed the signing of an agreement between global food and beverage giant Asahi Holdings and QUT, during her trade trip to Japan alongside Mayor Deirdre Comerford.

She said Asahi have patented a “new, more efficient sugarcane process” that aimed to increase the yield of sugar and ethanol.

QUT have been testing a fermentation process at Racecourse Mill for the past two years.

“This is a very significant decision for Queensland’s biofuels industry and has the potential to dramatically advance the take-up of biofuels from sugarcane,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Asahi have patented a new, more efficient sugarcane process. It aims to increase the yield of both sugar and ethanol.”

The Asahi-QUT agreement came on top of the interest shown by senior US Navy officials during the premier’s trade mission to the US earlier this year.

Ms Palaszczuk also congratulated QUT associate professor Ian O’Hara and the centre for tropical crops and bio-commodities.

Mr O’Hara said the aim would be to test the process on a commercial scale.

“This MoU (memorandum of understanding) deepens our relationship with Asahi, with a view to testing this process on a commercial scale,” he said.

“If successful, it could result in a significant increase in sugar and ethanol yields in sugar mills in Queensland as well as globally.”

Cr Comerford said she was honoured to be present at the signing between QUT and Asahi, the largest brewery in Japan.

“I was also very proud of the project being carried out in Mackay. (This) demonstrates when brewery technology and sugar processing techniques comes together just what can be achieved,” she said.

Guest speakers

TWO world-renowned scientists and investors will share their insights on opportunities for growth industries in Mackay next month.

Dr Jaleh Daie and Dr Roger Wyse will be guest speakers at the Diversify Mackay Leadership Alliance 2nd annual Report Card Luncheon.

The pair will be in Australia as guest speakers for The Australasian Bioenergy and Bioproducts Symposium and will make a flying visit to Mackay on October 13 for the luncheon.

Cr Comerford said the DMLA was committed to identifying growth industries and attracting new investment to our region.

Biofutures meeting

THE push to advance the state’s biofuels sector has gained momentum.

Premier Palaszczuk has locked in October 22 as the first meeting of the Biofutures Cabinet Committee in Mackay.

The committee will aim to coordinate a “whole-of-government” effort to develop the biofuels sector in Queensland.

A spokeswoman for the premier said they chose Mackay because it had two ethanol plants.

“We have chosen Mackay because of the presence of two ethanol plants in the area, highlighting the opportunities that exist for regional areas with the expansion of the biofuel economy,” she said.

“The Palaszczuk Government will develop a biofutures strategy to outline how a globally competitive and sustainable industry can be established in Queensland.”

Extracted in full from the Daily Mercury.