Mackay and Gladstone will be the immediate beneficiaries of a government backed bio-processing venture.
The Palaszczuk Government is supporting US company Mercurius Biorefining’s scientific validation program and feasibility study on its patented REACH™ technology, via the Biofutures Acceleration Program.
Renewable jet fuel and diesel made from sugarcane waste could eventually be manufactured across regional Queensland said Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick.
Mr Dick this week joined Mercurius CEO Karl Seck at Brisbane’s QUT Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities to review progress on the patented biotechnology.
“This project is another step towards achieving Queensland’s vision for a $1 billion sustainable, export-oriented biotechnology and bioproducts sector,” Mr Dick said.
“Initially, Mercurius plans to build a pilot plant to test different elements of the bio-manufacturing process across Gladstone and Mackay, and then a larger demonstration plant at Gladstone.
“Over the longer term, based on performance of the pilot and demonstration projects, the company then plans to seek out further Queensland regional locations to build up to five commercial scale biorefineries.
The project is slated to initially produce 4.5 tonnes of renewable diesel and jet fuel annually at demonstration plant stage. These projects are also expected to attract an investment value of $11 million and around 50 jobs, Mr Dick said.
Mercurius CEO Karl Seck underlined the company’s intention to use regional Queensland as its bio-manufacturing hub during a visit to QUT in Brisbane today.
“Mercurius Biorefining has developed patented technology called REACH, which aims to significantly reduce the cost of manufacturing renewable diesel and jet fuel and other bio products,” Mr Seck said.
“Although validation processes are not yet concluded, results to date are positive and in line with expectations.”
Director of QUT’s Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, Professor Sagadevan Mundree said the project brings to fruition the long-standing collaboration between QUT and Mercurius which has been developed over the past five to six years.
“Mercurius’ transformative REACH™ technology can be applied to any type of biomass such as agricultural residues, which Queensland has in abundant supply”, Professor Sagadevan Mundree said.
“The patented technology is simple and efficient and can utilise equipment from existing industries, which can result in relatively low capital and operating costs.”
“QUT is excited about the Queensland Government funding for this proof of concept, that will advance the commercial reality of producing renewable fuels and chemicals and lead to increased jobs and opportunities for regional communities.”