Human settlements

Renewable energy

Biomass 11: Factory-based 'Cane Trash' Seperation System

Renewable Energy Commercialisation in Australia, Australian Greenhouse Office, 2003
NOTE: The status of these projects will have changed since the time of publication, and project contacts may also have changed.

NSW Sugar Milling has devised a way of collecting and processing sugar cane waste for use as fuel.

Those who have travelled through the sugar cane growing areas of New South Wales or Queensland may have noticed the occasional cane fire at harvest time. The leaf matter is burnt off every year to facilitate harvesting the sugar cane and transporting it to the raw sugar mill.

Sugar cane harvesting

The New South Wales Sugar Milling Cooperative Limited holds that this leaf matter or 'cane trash', which has been going up in smoke, is a valuable renewable energy source. With the assistance of a $500,000 grant under the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program, it is building a plant to separate the trash from the cane at the Condong sugar mill. The trash will bypass the cane crushing process and go directly to the power station as fuel.

Design changes to the harvester have overcome most of the problems associated with harvesting the whole crop 'green' (unburnt). In addition, transport equipment for both in-field and onroad use is being built to handle this bulkier, lower-density material.

There will be enough trash and sugar cane bagasse (the fibrous waste from the crushing process) to fuel a 30MW power station for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for most of the year. The company estimates that 130GW hours can be generated by the renewable cane fuels each year at Condong mill alone, which is equivalent to the power that is generated from 57,000 tonnes of coal or to the removal of 25,000 cars from the road.

For more information please contact

Bruce Lamb
NSW Sugar Milling Cooperative Ltd
Harwood Island NSW 2465
Tel (02) 6640 0400
Fax (02) 6646 4550

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