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Sugar Facts | Electricity Co-generation

Australia’s sugar mills are almost self-sufficient in energy.  By burning the fibrous cane by-product, bagasse, mills generate electricity and steam to power all factory operations. 

Burning bagasse in a boiler sugar mill | Australia
Burning bagasse

Over 50% of the electricity produced is exported to the national grid – currently providing clean, green electricity to over 70,000 Queensland households. The recently completed co-generation facility at MSF Sugar’s Arriga Mill, located near Mareeba in Far North Queensland will add 24 megawatt hours of electricity – enough to power over 4,000 homes (see ABC Landline feature from 14 October 2018 here).  The facility represents a $75m investment

The by-product from the crushing of sugarcane, bagasse is recycled and used as boiler fuel in the sugar mills. It is burned at temperatures of up to 400 C to produce steam, which is either used as heat for the milling process or to drive turbines that generate electricity. This process is called co-generation.

Sugar mills generate over a quarter (27%) of Queensland’s renewable energy, which meets more than 2% of Australia’s large scale renewable energy target.

Fast Fact

One truck load of bagasse stores enough energy to power two Queensland homes for more than a year.