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Department of Environment and Science

Queensland Government

Science portfolio of the Department of Environment and Science

Department of Environment and Science

Queensland science capability directory

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Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant (MRBPP)

Biofuel reasearcher with bagass and biofuel sample

Institute for Future Environments, Queensland University of Technology

The Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant, based on the site of an operating sugar factory, is a unique research and development facility that converts biomass into biofuels, green chemicals and other bioproducts. The plant can develop and demonstrate a wide range of technologies at the pilot scale and is available for use by industry and research partners. We aim to increase the uptake of renewable bioproduct technologies in Australia by developing innovative, commercially viable products.


Key science sectors

Strengths and capabilities

  • Industrial biotechnology
  • Sugarcane processing
  • Biomass pre-treatment and conversion
  • High value product and process development
  • Carbohydrate hydrolysis and fermentation
  • Biomass harvesting, transportation, storage, processing
  • Analytical expertise

Facilities and major equipment

  • Unique biomass reactor constructed from corrosion-resistant alloys
  • Equipment for product separation, purification and recovery
  • Mettler Toledo RCe1 reaction calorimeter with in-situ infrared probe
  • Parr, sand-bath and microwave reactors
  • Supercritical CO2 process development unit

Number of research staff

Upto 20 research staff


Racecourse Mill Site, Mackay Sugar Limited, Peak Downs Highway,Racecourse via Mackay , QLD 4741

Lead researchers

  • Professor Ian O'Hara—Internationally renowned malaria researcher - leading clinical trials for malaria vaccines
  • Professor Emma McBryde—World leading infectious disease specialist and mathematical modeller
  • Professor Alex Loukas—Internationally significant parasitologist, speacialising in secretomes of parasitic helminths development of vaccines

Organisation type

  • University Research Centre

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Last updated:
3 June 2019