Human settlements

Renewable energy

Biomass 12: Rocky Point Sugar Mill - Renewable energy project

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.

A $55 million biomass cogeneration plant has been constructed at the Rocky Point Sugar Mill.

The Rocky Point Sugar Mill project received a $350,000 grant under the Renewable Energy Industry Program and was a stepping stone to the construction of the largest year-round biomass plant within the Australian sugar industry.

The aim of this project was to ascertain whether sugar milling boiler technology could burn biomass sources other than bagasse and whether there was sufficient renewable biomass fuel for yearround operation of the plant. Year round operation would take advantage of plant economies of scale and maximise the use of the considerable capital invested in this operation.

The project included biomass burning trials in the existing sugar mill at Rocky Point and extensive research into the supply of some 180,000 tonnes of biomass fuel, other than bagasse, for the mill's out-of-season operation. The fuel had to be obtained as part of a 'waste to energy' philosophy. The research eventually found that 130,000 tonnes of fuel was available to the project.

The Rocky Point Sugar Mill renewable energy project went on to be awarded a Renewable Energy Showcase grant of $3 million towards the construction of a $55 million biomass cogeneration plant attached to the Rocky Point Sugar Mill. The mill has undergone extensive refurbishment, with electric and hydraulic drives replacing steam engines, doing away completely with the use of high and intermediate steam pressures in its sugar milling process.

Considerable changes aimed at steam savings and energy efficiency are under way in the plant. Furthermore, the year-round energy supply from the cogeneration plant has made it possible for the sugar mill to undertake value-added products, such as distillation of fuel alcohol (ethanol) and organic sugar.

For more information please contact

David Heck
Rocky Point Sugar Mill
Mill Road
Woongoolba QLD 4207
Tel (07) 5546 2422
Fax (07) 5546 1233

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