News

Turning mill waste into ethanol

PRODUCTION: Andrew Reeves and Dr Tony Banks have had success turning plant waste into ethanol.
PRODUCTION: Andrew Reeves and Dr Tony Banks have had success turning plant waste into ethanol.

THERE is a big pile of sugarcane waste at the Harwood Mill that will one day be litres of usable and valuable ethanol.

Ethanol Technologies senior research and development engineer Andrew Reeves said it took the company seven years and it could now turn sugarcane and timber waste into ethanol.

"We're not just thinking about us, this has impact worldwide," Mr Reeves said.

"The Clarence Valley could be an ethanol producing centre.

"We can produce litres of ethanol from minimal waste."

Mr Reeves said from lab calculations, they could get 400 litres of ethanol from a tonne of plant waste.

"Ethanol has many uses, but our goal has been to produce it for farmers to displace diesel with," he said.

"It is not well known, but using Ethtech technology, diesel can be blended with ethanol for use in diesel engines like tractors, cane hauling devices and other farm equipment.

"Anything that is biomass derived, or comes from a plant, can be turned to ethanol.

"That sugarcane waste has a lot of cellulose."

He said cellulose was like a microscopic chain of locked sugar that must be broken down into individual sugars for conversion to ethanol.

"Mixing it with acid and cooking it allows that cellulose to turn into glucose, or sugar."

Ethanol Technologies senior research chemist Tony Banks said the next stage was building a facility to turn the solution into ethanol.

He said although brewer's yeast could be used to turn their sugar solution into ethanol, they found a genetically modified micro-organism that would let them get 100% ethanol.

"Today is all about efficiency," Dr Banks said.

"You want to ferment 100% of your sugar.

"We don't want to leave any percentage of ethanol behind."

7-step process

1. Get waste, dry it and break it down.

2. Mix it with acid. The waste turns into black play dough.

3. Cook it. These steps happen in 10 minutes

4. Filter it. You get a cake which can be used as fuel and then fertiliser.

5. Separate sugar from acid.

6. Recycle the acid

7. Ferment the sugar solution into ethanol

Topics:  ethanol, harwood, sugarcane, sugar mill




Courier service gets the flowers to the stalls on time

Fastways Couriers donated their time and services to get flowers to the region well in time for Daffodil Day.

Find out how the flowers for Daffodil Day are so fresh.

Daffodil Day work emergency puts Kylie in charge

FAMILY VALUES: Kylie Cameron and her mum and dad, Karen and John Cameron, at the Daffodil Day stall at Bunnings, South Grafton, on Friday.

Family bands together to keep Daffodil Day booth going.

VIDEO: Meet the Candidates in Maclean

KAREN TOMS: Says being a councillor for eight years has been a tough gig. She is worried about council's debt and financial sustainability. As a councillor she says she approaches spending with the thought, what if it was my money.Photo Tim Howard / Daily Examiner

What do the council candidates stand for?

Latest deals and offers

John Krasinski has better sex now he's in good shape

John Krasinski says there's at least one good reason to get jacked

Kanye West gets 'free reign' at VMAs

Kanye West has been let off the leash for the VMAs

Robbie Williams sings at manager's funeral

Robbie Williams and Lamar sang at the funeral of their manager

Courtney Stodden gets Reborn Doll

Courtney Stodden is trying to get over her recent miscarriage

Kate McKinnon 'destitute' before SNL

Kate McKinnon says she can't do anything but act

FBI investigating Leslie Jones website hack

The FBI are investigating Leslie Jones' personal website hack

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m