This project will determine the technical and commercial viability of Australia’s largest integrated biofuel facility, proposed for construction at Pentland, near Charters Towers in North Queensland.
The global bioethanol market is forecast to grow to 145 Billion litres in 2022 from a 2015 level of 98 Billion litres, creating a need for more biofuel production.
The proposed Pentland plant requires a detailed business case in order to secure debt and investor finance to progress to construction.
Renewable Developments Australia (RDA) aims to develop the Pentland plant into the lowest cost ethanol production facility in the world. It would be a landmark project for Queensland and the bioenergy industry as a whole.
This ARENA funded project will verify and validate key technical and commercial parameters critical to project development and financing. RDA will:
- conducting growing trials with Super Sweet Sorghum, a biomass feedstock that has the capacity to produce triple the biomass (grows to 4m in 12 weeks) per year compared to the traditional sugar cane further improving efficiency and reducing cost
- testing innovative 2nd Generation (cellulosic) ethanol technology developed by Beta Renewables that could effectively double ethanol output, without increasing the cane or sorghum biomass requirements
- identify, technical, financial and regulatory developmental road blocks affecting projects of this scale and type
- deliver an Information Memorandum; prepared for the purposes of raising required capital for financial close of the Pentland integrated biofuel project.
The project will deliver a detailed business case for the Pentland plant. It will also illustrate key knowledge sharing outcomes critical for development of large scale bio-ethanol projects in Australia.
If the plant proceeds, it is expected to attract capital investment of up to $800 million to enable the construction of RDA’s fully integrated renewable biofuel facility designed to produce 350 million litres of fuel grade ethanol. It is also expected to create 500 jobs during construction and up to 200 jobs after construction is complete, in addition to producing a carbon neutral renewable fuel.
This would significantly increase the availability of domestically produced ethanol using an easily repeatable ‘cookie cutter’ model. The plant would firmly place Australia on the map as a biofuel producer and could drive down the cost of ethanol.