Bio-based industrial products

Industrial biotechnology and bio-products are emerging worldwide as a valuable new sector with the global market expected to top US$1 trillion by 2022 (Stratistics Market Research Consulting Ltd. 2016).

The Queensland Government has a vision for a $1 billion sustainable and export-oriented industrial biotechnology and bio-products sector by 2026.

This vision is being delivered through the Advance Queensland Biofutures 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan which will attract international investment, and create regional, high value and knowledge-intensive jobs.

Historically, the bio-based products sector has produced transport fuels for domestic purposes using first-generation processes involving the fermentation of corn and sugar. In the future, renewable biomass will increasingly be a substitute for non-renewable resources including oil, coal and gas. Renewable biomass sources range from specialty crops, grasses, trees and marine algae, to household, industrial and agricultural wastes.

Bioprocesses convert these materials into a range of bio-based industrial products, including renewable fuels, plastics, paper and chemicals. As oil prices increase and technologies improve, it is envisaged that these products will be economically competitive with their non-renewable counterparts.

Future opportunities

The Biofutures Roadmap provides the leadership required to help Queensland leverage its strategic advantages and secure its share of the domestic and international market for these products. There is a particularly strong market for bio-based transport fuels (biofuels) using processing technologies involving the fermentation of corn and sugar-cane juice or molasses, and the extraction of oils for biodiesel from feedstocks such as canola.

The demand for sustainable and cost-effective petrochemical replacements and other 'green' chemicals is fueling a new generation of advanced technologies and products. Such technology is enabling the conversion of fibrous woody biomass and plant oils to fuels and high value chemicals.

Queensland is ideally placed to become a world leader and Asia-Pacific hub of bio-based industrial product development. Our unique geographic advantages, scientific and research capabilities, and credentials in feedstock production position Queensland to capitalise on the opportunity presented by bio-based industrial products.