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jueves, 13 de julio de 2017

Queensland’s BAP endorses the new biorefinery of MSF Sugar

Other biorefinery project [Note 1] benefiting from the Biofutures Acceleration Program (BAP) of Queensland (Australia). The Government has thrown its support behind a new biorefinery of MSF Sugar (Australia’s largest sugarcane farmer, second largest raw sugar exporter and the third largest miller) that could generate many jobs and encourage diverse cropping in the region of Far North Queensland (see press release of the company and statement of the Government). The announcement took place on 10th July at MSF Sugar’s Tableland Mill during a media event on the construction site of another of the company’s major projects, the Green Energy Power Plant which is scheduled for completion in 2018.
[Note 1] Recent posts about projects supported by the BAP:

Project datasheet:
Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland (Australia)
MSF Sugar
The full complex will be an enhanced sugar mill consisting of four important sections: the sugar mill, an agave juice mill, a green power station and a distillery.
The power station and the distillery will operate 12 months of the year.
The plant will contain two front-end processing facilities to separate sucrose, fermentable juice and fibre.
Sugarcane from irrigated land and blue agave from arid land.
Products and production capacity
110 kton of raw sugar.
55 ML of bioethanol.
It can also be expanded to produce additional products: bioplastics, animal feeds and ethanol-based aviation fuels.
80 construction/farming jobs.
50 operational jobs.
See Figure 1.

Figure 1. Milestones of the Sugar MSF biorefinery project in Atherton Tablelands

The Government support obtained through the BAP will be used by MSF Sugar to complete a farm to market feasibility study that examines all areas of the value chain relating to the establishment of a biorefining industry on the Atherton Tableland. The feasibility study funded will consider all processes related to farming the new agave crop, making the bioproducts and delivering the end product to market. The findings will be used to assess the commercial viability of the project and inform MSF Sugar’s decision on when to commence project construction.

To allow the biorefinery to operate 12 months of the year, MSF Sugar will carry out a blue agave pilot project thanks to a grant received through the Queensland Government’s Biofutures Commercialisation Program late last month (see statement). Blue agave is a new crop to Australia but is extensively grown in Mexico to produce the drink tequila. It grows in a climate similar to that of the dry tropic part of the Atherton Tableland, it produces around 400 tons of biomass per hectare in 5 years, does not need irrigation and provides a high amount of fermentable juice and fibre. MSF Sugar intends to develop 4,000 ha of Tableland farmland into agave plantations starting in 2020. As agave takes 5 years to grow, it is anticipated the first commercial harvest will take place in 2025.

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