Ethanol producer Manildra has moved to cut the amount of the product it makes for fuel after failing to get the level of state government mandate it had sought.
As a result, its Bomaderry company Shoalhaven Starcheswants to expand the amount of ethanol it makes for beverages, while decreasing the amount it produces for fuel.
Shoalhaven Starches has applied via the major projects planning process for the change, which it says would not result in any net change to ethanol production levels.
Some structures would be demolished, a new distillery and tanks would be built, and the reduction in fuel ethanol would be countered by the increase in beverage-quality product.
Expanding for drinks: Manildra’s Shoalhaven Starches factory on Bolong Rd in Bomaderry, which is seeking to build a beverage-grade ethanol distillery.
The plant’s capacity would remain at 300 megalitres per year, but 110ML of this would be beverage grade ethanol.
Ethanol is used as a partial petrol substitute and delivers reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Under new NSW laws introduced late this year, petrol retailers must sell ethanol if they deal more than 3.6 million litres a year. This was a much higher threshold than Manildra had wanted –it met with ministers several times to discuss its target threshold of 1 million litres per year.
But the Government was unwilling to force the mandate upon many small retailers. Manildra’s move away from fuel towards beverages can be seen as a reaction to that decision, as it had expanded its capacity in recent years.
“Unfortunately the expected increase in demand for ethanol to meet the demand arising from this mandate has not occurred due largely from a failure of the mandate to be imposed on petroleum suppliers,” Manildra says in its project application.
“As a result Shoalhaven Starches have been investigating alternative markets for the ethanol that is and will be produced at their Bomaderry plant in accordance with the project approval.”
The project is estimated to carry a $40 million price tag.
The public can comment on the plans via the NSW Major Projects planning website.
As per usual, Manildra’s political donations disclosure statement is lengthy, showing thousands of dollars given to the NSW Liberal Party, the NSW National Party and the NSW Labor Party.
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