Sorghum dust’s a tasty extra dish for feedlots
DALBY Bio-Refinery, Australia's first grain-to-fuel plant, has had its ability to provide feed for Queensland feedlots upgraded at a cost of $20million.
The site was visited by Queensland MP Rob Katter, former Condamine grain-grower Rowell Walton and Western Downs mayor Ray Brown to witness the refinery's new capabilities.
The Dalby Bio-Refinery produced roughly 76million litres of pure ethanol from about 200,000 tonnes of sorghum last financial year.
Ethanol is the base of products like the high-performance Formula 1 racing fuel E85, as well as E10, which is commonly available at service stations.
One of the by-products of the 45-hour process is sorghum mash, or "wet cake" which is produced at a rate of up to 22 tonnes per week.
The leftover sorghum suitable for feed is separated from the wet cake by centrifuge and stored in a large warehouse, with a limited shelf life.
However, it can be stored as a fine, high-protein dust which is edible and ideal for cattle feed.
The process of drying it is expensive and challenging without the right equipment, making the $20million drying machine unveiled on Wednesday a major achievement for the budding industry.
Refinery general manager Kobus Swart confirmed the steam which could be seen rising from the stacks of the drier was completely benign and pollutant-free.
Mr Katter said Dalby was leading Queensland in a potentially revolutionary technology while supporting grain farmers.
"The Western Downs is contributing so much to the state," Mr Katter said.
"It's so good to see Dalby going ahead with this.
"We've got to look to the things that have always carried us."
Health, safety and environmental manager for the facility, Vishal Vora, said the waste would now
off-set some of the costs incurred by the production process.