Biofuel research

At the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), scientists from the Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant are conducting research on the conversion of sugarcane waste (or ‘biomass’) into ethanol for use in cars, trucks and aeroplanes.

Senator Kim Carr launched the plant around a year ago. Upon visiting the site with Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, he said that access to cost-effective renewable energies such as biofuel would help the transport industry thrive in a clean energy future.

“The work being done in Mackay is an outstanding example of Australian ingenuity and the Gillard Labor Government is pleased to be providing over $5 million for the Plant under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy and Super Science Initiative,” said Senator Carr.

He continued, “Labor understands that the climate is changing. We trust the science and we trust our scientists. We will support them in their quest to help protect our world and create a low-carbon economy. I am pleased that this plant is not only working to create biofuels from waste, they are committed to helping Australian industries access and utilise the renewable energy.

“That is why QUT will partner with industry to assess the commercial viability of the biofuels they create and become advocates for the uptake of this technology in Australia.”

According to QUT Professor James Dale, researchers at the plant have been focused on developing and demonstrating the pretreatment process required to modify biomass to make it more capable of being processed into fermentable sugars and other higher value biocommodities. This has been identified as one of the most challenging stages of converting sugarcane waste into ethanol.

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