27 September 2023

Refinery revived to make ethanol wipes

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The Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning has announced that the Dalby Bio-refinery has reopened to manufacture vital stocks of industrial-grade ethanol.

The ethanol will be used in hand sanitiser, hand wash and surface disinfectant products during efforts to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk said the reopening would result in jobs for 40 staff.

“More and more Queensland manufacturers are making essential products to protect us against COVID-19,” the Premier said.

“That’s good news in the health fight against the virus and good news in our economic recovery.”

Minister for Manufacturing, Cameron Dick said the refinery was re-employing almost all of the 40-plus staff who had been placed on leave when the business temporarily shut down on 24 February.

“By making very significant changes to their refinery plant and process, Dalby Bio-Refinery is now able to reopen and re-employ its workforce which will be a huge boost to the Darling Downs community,” Mr Dick said.

“My Department has been working closely with the refinery, assisting it to source the chemicals needed to undertake the new production process to produce the higher-grade, industrial ethanol.”

He said Dalby was Australia’s first grain-to-ethanol facility.

“This turnaround in a time of crisis is a great reflection of Queensland ingenuity shining right across the State,” the Minister said.

Chief Operating Officer at the Dalby Bio-refinery, David Szymczak said it had previously produced fuel-grade ethanol and high value animal feed.

“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.”

He said the Department had been supportive, assisting the refinery with critical supply-chain needs so it could reopen.

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