Cobar BioHub project looks promising

Regional Development Australia (RDA) Orana into setting up a BioHub industry in Cobar indicates that the proposal is economically viable.

CEO of RDA Orana Felicity Taylor-Edwards said the study undertaken by EcoWaste Pty Ltd focuses on two main facilities proposed to be located at/near Cobar and at/near Dubbo.

“In essence, the BioHub concept is to take organic material that is currently disposed of as a waste or residue, and to convert it into high-value carbon-based products for specific markets,” Ms Taylor-Edwards explained.

“The project came about as a result of a growing need to reduce reliance on fossil carbon such as coal, because of cost, environmental concerns, and international efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.

“RDA Orana recognised the huge potential resources of agricultural and forestry wastes and residues, and in the Cobar/Bourke region, invasive native scrub cleared in accordance with legislation,” she said.

While the Dubbo BioHub would receive organic materials from a range of sources, the Cobar BioHub would specialise in converting forestry residues and cleared invasive native scrub into a variety of products.

“The BioHub concept is about using the available material to make the highest value product possible.

“For Cobar, there is an opportunity to sort the cleared vegetation according to the highest value product that it can be used for, to achieve maximum returns,” Ms Taylor-Edwards said.

“Because there are genuine markets for these products, we envisage that BioHub operators will be able to pay realistic prices for incoming materials.

“This will enhance the profitability of the main enterprise, whether that is forestry or agricultural property development through clearing.

“The pre-feasibility study is only the first step towards the development of the BioHubs,” Ms Taylor-Edwards cautioned.

“More detailed investigations are needed before decisions can be made about where the facilities will be located, who will operate them, and what technology will be required.

“RDA Orana is negotiating with several potential funding partners to invest in this next stage of investigation.”

Cobar and district residents are invited to a presentation on the findings of the study by Mark Glover of EcoWaste next Wednesday.

A short summary of the report will be available on the day, and the full report will be available from the RDA Orana website shortly afterwards.