Bioenergy / Energy from wasteProject Generation 2 Ethanol from Sugarcane Waste
This project addresses the need to develop a cost-effective method of producing second generation ethanol from inedible food crops and materials rather than using the current methods that rely on food crops to produce first generation ethanol.
In the near future energy and food security are set to become the major global issues that will need to be addressed in response to population growth and the rapid industrialisation of third world economies.
Inedible plant materials, known as lignocellulosic biomass, are low cost and in plentiful supply. However, the conversion of lignocellulosic materials into biofuels such as ethanol requires more complex technology than that used for first generation ethanol sources.
To facilitate this, the project developed advanced yeast catalysts and a second generation bio-refinery process. The specialised yeast was created through a 10 year program utilising unique, proprietary breeding technology to maximise the amount of sugar converted from lignocellulosic biomass into valuable co- products
The project’s second generation bio-refinery concept, Fuel AND Food, converted the material into fuel ethanol, high nutrition animal feed and an environmentally friendly potential substitute for coal. It was estimated that the process could deliver next generation ethanol at a profit today with a minimum ethanol selling price (MESP) of 52 to 67 cents a litre.
The project was funded through the Second Generation Biofuels Research and Development (Gen 2) Program, which supported the research, development and demonstration of new biofuel technologies and feed-stocks that address the sustainable development of an advanced biofuels industry in Australia.