The Dalby Bio-Refinery has reopened to manufacture vital stocks of industrial grade ethanol to be used in hand sanitiser, hand wash and surface disinfectant products during the fight against COVID-19.
Minister for Manufacturing Cameron Dick said the refinery is re-employing almost all of the 40 plus staff who were placed on leave when the bio-refinery temporarily shut down on 24 February 2020.
“By making very significant changes to their refinery plant and process, Dalby Bio-Refinery are now able to reopen and re-employ their workforce, which will be a huge boost to the Darling Downs community,” he said.
“My department has been working closely with the refinery, assisting them to source the chemicals needed to undertake the new production process to produce the higher grade, industrial ethanol.
Related article:Latest Queensland energy consumer behaviour revealed
“We’ve also been assisting to put them in touch with businesses who are in short supply of industrial ethanol, or those who can use the ‘tops and tails’ distillation by-product, such as distillers, making sure everyone’s needs are met.
“It’s critically important that supply chains don’t have any gaps and can continue to operate to manufacture critical products which we need right now.
“Dalby Bio-Refinery Ltd was Australia’s first grain-to-ethanol facility, and this turnaround in a time of crisis is a great reflection of Queensland ingenuity shining right across the state.”
Chief operating officer David Szymczak said he was excited to be reopening the bio-refinery, which previously produced fuel grade ethanol and high-value animal feed.
Related article:Energy networks backing front-line workers
“The drought dramatically impacted the availability of the grain and sorghum we needed to produce our ethanol product,” Mr Szymczak said.
“Our animal feed products kept us operating for a while, but when the drought broke, demand for feed dried up, and a ready-supply of sorghum wasn’t available, forcing us to temporarily shut our doors.
“The Queensland Government has been a very supportive, assisting us with critical supply-chain needs so we can reopen.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing all our employees back in the plant, working to full capacity.”
Dalby Bio-Refinery has now re-commenced production and at peak is expected to produce approximately 150,000 litres per day, of which about 125,000 litres will be suitable for hand sanitisers and cleaners.