In addition to raw sugar, our mills generate renewable energy from the biomass they produce while crushing cane. This biomass, called bagasse, is the cane fibre that’s left over after crushing has stripped the sugar cane of its juice.
The bagasse is recycled and used as boiler fuel at our mills. It’s burned at temperatures of up to 800˚C to produce steam which is either converted into electricity for used as heat during milling. This process is called cogeneration.
Our eight sugar mills have a total cogeneration capacity of 197 megawatts and some create enough renewable electricity to allow for significant quantities (about 123 megawatts) to be exported into the Queensland power grid.
The electricity we export is enough to power about 60,000 homes each year (based on 6.3MWh typical household consumption per year*), which is around a third of the homes in Townsville.
Three of our mills - Invicta, Pioneer and Victoria - have dedicated cogeneration facilities to increase their export capacity. Pioneer’s cogeneration plant is capable of producing nearly 200,000MWh of power. Surplus bagasse produced in our four Burdekin mills during the crushing season is stockpiled on large specially designed pads at Pioneer to enable the cogeneration facility to continue to operate outside of the crushing season.
We are Australia’s largest producer of renewable energy from biomass.
*source QCA typical house hold bill - 2013