Multiple multimillion-dollar high-tech biorefineries are on the cards for regional Queensland, a global biotech event has been told.
Speaking from the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology in Montreal this week, State Development Minister Anthony Lynham said American company Mercurius Biorefining and Brisbane’s Leaf Resources would progress their respective plans to use plant waste to produce fuels, chemicals and plastics.
The State Government has provided financial incentives to both companies from its Biofutures 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan.
“These two companies are the latest to join a multimillion-dollar pipeline of investment in 21st century biofutures plants that could generate more than 330 jobs in regional Queensland,” Dr Lynham said.
He said Mercurius proposed a pilot plant, with Mackay and Gladstone earmarked as potential sites, to trial converting materials such as excess sugar cane fibre into renewable diesel and bio-chemicals.
Based on performance of the pilot and demonstration projects, the company then plans to build advanced biorefinery projects across other regional Queensland areas.
“The $11 million Mercurius project, estimated to create 50 jobs, is an exciting one for Queensland and has the potential to deliver long-term high-value jobs and investment opportunities for many regions,” Dr Lynham said.
Dr Lynham said Mercurius also planned to manufacture sustainable jet fuel, with the US Navy identified as a potential customer.
Brisbane-based Leaf Resources will scope out a potential location for a biorefinery site near a source of plant waste, ranging from sugar cane fibre, sorghum stalks or hardwood offcuts.