Agricultural waste in Queensland has the potential to buoy the manufacturing industry in Australia. Biorefineries in the area could be responsible for $20 billion in plastics and fuels, which could support more than 6,000 jobs locally.
Queenland University of Technology commissioned a report, with findings detailing the feasibility of biorefineries producing at this level. Ian O’Hara, principle research scientist on the report, shared that people looking for jobs in manufacturing wouldn’t be the only individuals to gain from the possibility—primary producers could also reap great benefits.
"Not only can they continue to produce their existing crops, whether it be sugar or cotton or grains, but from the waste products they can now also produce value-added products," he said.
Those 6,000 jobs could be spread out over seven different biorefinery locations throughout Queensland, with Dr. O’Hara commenting that anything made from petrochemicals (chemicals obtained from petroleum and natural gas), can also be made from biomass. Australia already has a large amount of biomass available for the process, and it doesn’t take a scientist to realise the positive environmental effects of biomass use.
Unfortunately there is so much uncertainty regarding the Renewable Energy Target in Australia that people may be wary to invest in this potential cash cow for the manufacturing industry.
"I think this industry now makes economic sense and that's been one of the fundamental changes over the past two or three years," Dr. O’Hara said."This industry no longer relies on subsidies or sustainability outcomes, it actually makes good economic sense.
"We need industry, government and research (sectors) to really start a discussion about the right policy settings to bring this industry to fruition."
Information sourced from ABC.