Pentland Bioenergy Project
Pentland Biofuels Project Location
RDA is developing a fully integrated biofuel facility near the township of Charters Towers in North Queensland, Australia.
The Project involves the development of a fully integrated sugarcane farming, processing and ethanol distillation facility. Traditionally, ethanol processing facilities have relied on supply of sugarcane from third party producers. Supply has therefore been subject to competition from sugar mills and cost variations from growers seeking to maximise on-farm margins. The Pentland Bioenergy Project is unique because it is fully integrated with feedstock grown on-site and controlled within the project. Investors will have full control and visibility over the cost and quality of feedstock, materially improving investment performance and economics when compared to traditional operations.
The Australian Government have provided a $3 million grant to RDA to support progression of the project to Financial Close. Details of the grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency can be found here.
28 500 hectares of high yield agricultural land approximately 50 km south-west of Charters Towers has been secured via a long-term lease for Stage 1 development. Further expansion is possible post Stage 1 with the option for second generation ethanol production and additional contiguous land secured for future stages of development.
Sugarcane is a proven and extremely efficient converter of sunlight and water into energy and is considered one of the highest yielding energy crops available. The Project intends to extract the full value of the sugarcane’s potential, with annual production estimated to include:
- Approximately 190 million litres of high grade bioethanol from first generation processing.
- Approximately 700 kilotonnes of bagasse, a byproduct of the diffusion and extraction process, used to power a 16 megawatt cogeneration plant located on site, generating valuable Large-scale Generation Certificates for sale.
Utilisation of the latest feedstock processing technologies accompanied with an integrated supply chain provides significant cost efficiencies when compared to other ethanol operations globally. Moreover, with a large proportion of costs either fixed under long-term agreements or within the Project's control and not subject to market conditions, the Project offers a high degree of operational cost certainty. Feasibility studies place the Project within the lowest operational cost quartile on the global ethanol production cost curve.
A long-term, fixed volume offtake contract with a floor price mechanism has been received and final terms of the proposal are currently being finalised with a leading global ethanol distributor for up to 100% of ethanol production.
The facility is designed for expansion to include a 2nd generation ethanol production stage extracting a further 150 million litres of ethanol from the waste byproduct of the 1st stage ethanol production. Trials are underway to incorporate specially bred super sweet sorghum as an additional feedstock. Sorghum has caloric and biomass yields three times that of sugarcane providing additional production output at a similar operating cost.