New research from Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by the Queensland University of Technology, claims that over 6,000 jobs and billions in output could be created through harnessing agricultural waste for industrial use.
The report, Economic impact of a future tropical biorefinery industry in Queensland, points to the state’s comparative advantages in its existing agricultural industry and climate. It suggests there is enough existing biomass being produced to support seven refineries in the state.
In net present value, the report says over $20 billion of plastics and fuels could be made in this way over the next two decades.
"We're talking about almost anything that can be made from petrochemicals can also be made from biomass," the ABC quotes principal research scientist Ian O'Hara as saying.
The report cites the experience and investment in biomass by the chemicals industry in Malaysia and Brazil.
In Brazil, “Dow has already established a global-scale, 240,000 tpa ethanol plant (2011), and, more recently in a joint venture with Japan’s Mitsui, is planning on value-adding that ethanol by converting it to ethylene and polyethylene in a biopolymers facility, worth around US$1.5 billion.”
O’Hara said that commercialisation of biomass was something that was happening already around the world.
“Queensland needs to get on the bandwagon and start to see the opportunity unfurling here,” he said.