New ethanol plant proposed for Brisbane

BIOFUELS company Primary Energy is planning to establish a $150 million dry-milling ethanol biorefinery on an existing industrial site at Pinkenba in Brisbane.

The company has already formed an agreement with BP to expand the capacity of an ethanol plant to be built in Kwinana, Western Australia from the originally planned 80 million litres to 160 million litres per annum. Construction is due to begin early next year.

BP will purchase the ethanol produced for blending with petrol. Under another agreement, it will also purchase ethanol from a Primary Energy plant being built in Gennedah, New South Wales.

Meanwhile in Queensland, the Pinkenba proposal was yesterday designated as a “significant project” by the Queensland Government.

The Pinkenba biorefinery, at full production, would be able to process up to 400,000 tonnes of grain feedstock a year to produce an estimated 160 megalitres of fuel grade ethanol, 240,000t of fertiliser, 16,000t of aqueous ammonia and up to 28 megawatts of green electricity.

Deputy Premier and Infrastructure Minister Anna Bligh said the Pinkenba Refinery would deliver 71% of the 225ML per year of ethanol required to meet the State Government’s proposed mandate for 5% ethanol use in fuel.

Bligh said a closed water management system would operate for the plant.

“All wastewater from the various sections of the biorefinery will be treated onsite using reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration treatment facilities,” she said.

“Recycled water and greywater will be utilised where possible as a source of make-up water for cooling towers and other areas requiring process water.

“In addition, the plant will also collect rainwater from the roofs of onsite buildings to use in the process.”

Bligh said Primary Energy had signed a heads of agreement with GrainCorp for the supply of all grain requirements to the plant, and a memorandum of understanding with BP to supply all ethanol from the plant to the major fuel supplier.

The plant is expected to create 300 new jobs during the construction period and 50 new jobs during operation.