Developing Bio-Manufacturing in Gippsland
by Philip Hopkins (Gippsland Times) Australian Paper, working with the CSIRO, a European technology leader and Federation University, is forging ahead with plans to create a bio-manufacturing hub in the Latrobe Valley that could generate several thousand jobs.
The venture, which could stimulate hundreds of millions of dollars of investment, aims to use AP’s existing 50 megawatt biomass plant at the Maryvale mill to form the core of a bio-manufacturing facility.
This bio-refinery would use lignin extracted from trees to make a range of high-tech, renewable bio-products. The lignin is now burned in AP’s biomass plant.
“We would divert that fuel source, lignin, to a whole new range of products biofuel, aviation fuel, bio-carbon fibre or bio-plastics,” said AP’s technical business development manager, Stephen Parkinson.
The project that could create a new manufacturing sector comes as the Latrobe Valley is reeling from the loss of up to 1000 jobs as the Hazelwood power station closes and the Heyfield timber mill’s likely closure.
A critical part of AP’s plan is the immediate establishment of a research centre, a BioCore, with Federation University, VTT and CSIRO.
This is expected to cost $38 million $15 million for the facility and $23 million for staff over five years.
FU’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Leigh Sullivan, told the seminar that FU would provide engineering and systems and other expertise to the project.
Crucial to the outcome is a long-term economic wood supply. READ MORE