The current revenue base of the sugarcane industry in Mauritius consists of raw and refined sugar, ethanol from molasses, and electricity from bagasse. There is a clear need for the sugarcane industry to diversify its revenue base to remain profitable despite fluctuations in the sugar price.
Plastics are almost entirely derived from fossil sources and are stable in both the terrestrial and marine environments, resulting in a global plastic pollution crisis. Bioplastics, in contrast, are renewable and biodegradable. Current drivers for the development of the US$43 billion global bioplastics markets are a growing beverage packaging industry, government support for adoption of bio-based materials, and rising consumer acceptance for bioplastics. Transformation of crop residues from the Mauritius sugar industry into bioplastics will diversify the revenue base of the industry, underpin the future profitability of the industry, and deliver a sustainable bioproduct for both domestic use and export.
The Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute has developed a process to convert sugarcane into bioplastic. Scale-up of the process to pilot-scale is essential to validate the industrial application of the technology and evaluate the economics of commercial-scale production. The project will deliver pilot-scale demonstration of sugarcane trash valorisation into bioplastic at the Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant.
Funding / Grants
- Mauritius Research Council (MRC)
Other Team Members
Mauritius Sugarcane Industry Research Institute
Mauritius Research and Innovation Council