A report on the technical and commercial feasibility of producing biofuel from sugarcane bagasse, which is a by-product of the sugar production process.
The Cane2Fuel project embraced the progression towards second generation biofuels technology by focussing on the sugarcane biomass supply chain in Australia. It was supported through the Second Generation Biofuels Research and Development (Gen 2) Program, which supported the research, development and demonstration of new biofuel technologies and feedstocks that address the sustainable development of an advanced biofuels industry in Australia.
Cane2Fuel was designed to deliver a package of outcomes to ensure the long term sustainable supply of sugarcane based biomass to make biofuels. The use of sugarcane fibre does not impact on the food versus fuel debate as the part used is a natural waste product of the sugar production process and could not be used otherwise. The project included: breeding and selection of suitable varieties of sugarcane; optimising farming practices to maximise the production of biomass; developing laboratory methods for analysing biomass; and developing measurement tools to assess biomass quality and process control solutions. This package will be applicable across many different biofuel production technologies and different crops and cropping systems.
The project concluded that it is not currently economic to produce biofuels from lignocellulosic material left over after sugarcane processing. This was not a surprising outcome but is expected to change in the short to medium term as improvements in conversion technology, operating and capital cost reductions, feedstock supply, reduced emissions and compelling market forces for second generation biofuel production and consumption drive technology uptake.